I would have preferred responses like “Whoa, how did you do that?”, but being this here is a forum, I recognize/respect everyone’s two cents.
So okay, here’s the context of the shooting that afternoon. Focusing an 85mm 1.2 LII mated to a 5D2 at f1.2 on the eye of a person is difficult. If you have tried this set up, you know what I’m talking about. Then imagine taking photos of an excitable pooch in a small crowded park filled with the scent and mugs of 101 other canines, their humans and mini humans. Let me tell you, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. You are literally crawling.
It was one of those days when I was shooting for myself, with no client to please or anything like that. I like to give myself some sort of a challenge on days like this, and sharpen my photographic reflexes, so to speak. The plan was to “work” the event with the gear I was carrying -one body and one lens only, 5D2 and 85mm 1.2 LII. Stick to ISO 100, and no aperture smaller than 2.5.
But why at huge apertures? Simply because it is not easy to do, therefore it’s a challenge. I could have just gone the way of the F8 And Be There Philosophy, but that would have been too easy, too formulaic and boring for me. I mean where’s the challenge? Let’s try something different. Maybe if I were shooting for Petsmart or Iams, I would get everything in focus from the whiskers to the tail.
All images I post in forums are at 75 dpi, and that might help explain the observed softness. Also consider that I don’t ever do any sharpening –that’s just a personal preference. Most of the images were shot with apertures between 1.2 and 1.8. (There were a couple of images wherein the dog owners requested copies of, so I made those at 4.5 or 5.6.) The narrow slivers of depth of field and low resolution contribute to the perceived softness. If you go to the full res gallery, you will see the difference. The minimum I require is that the nearest eye should be in focus, and that’s what you’ll notice. Maybe there’s an image or two that may not be spot on, but I’m more than happy with my keep rate.
Why did you even post your photos if you didn't want to be criticized? The world is cruel my friend, you'll either be praised if you're good or torn apart if you're not.
In your case, I think there's a difference between challenging yourself and what's objectively appropriate for the scenes/subjects you took.
Yes it's difficult to shoot moving subjects at large apertures, but I don't think it was appropriate for this. Bokeh? Yes it is definitely nice, but inappropriate for this scenario.
Post processing is no excuse why your images are soft. That actually says a lot about your skills in post. The images are soft, period.
I also don't understand your preference not to sharpen. What's the point of using good glass then if not to get the sharpest images? Pros know the technical reasons why output sharpening is required. Some level of output sharpening is always required. Your preference not to sharpen comes across to me as you simply don't know why you need to and don't know how to.
Just my 2 cents.