Thanks for taking the time to review my photos( btw, I am sorry that I sent you a file that had not been turned 90 degrees CW. I did not look at this copy...shame on me)
Your PS work on my hybrid roses does look better. Frankly, I did notice the contrast problem, but did not view it as significant enough to change. Also, as a matter of course, I like flowers against dark backgrounds even to the extent sometimes of placing a black card behind them as a background rather than the natural greenery. HOWEVER, in this case I like yours better. And, once again, you are correct about the contrast problem. I have noticed it in most if not all of my shots. I notice you use the lower contrast setting as a part of your normal setup. I will try that, too, especially when shooting NEF's. As I said in an earlier post, I was trying Moose Petersen's settings here so I did not change his contrast level. To be honest, shooting the "D" level cameras is going to have a bit of a learning curve. I always thought the Coolpix 990 I have to be a bit too contrasty too.
By the way, the so-called sharpness problem is still here in the jpegs, although I must tell you these were handheld at 800-1250 shutter speeds. Without a tripod you really cannot judge sharpness.