I was wondering recently about the digital negative process and was surprised to see very little on here relating to it. As I understand it, most people use it to create contact prints of monochrome negatives, created by printing a digital image capture onto transparent material (such as overhead projector transparency) with an ink jet printer. Any wet printing process from cyanotype to silver halide can be used.
My question is this, would there be any difference in result between a large negative contact printed and a smaller one printed with an enlarger.For instance a negative printed at A4 then contact printed and a negative printed at A5 then blown up to A4 with an enlarger? How would this relationship continue as the amount of enlargement increased?
This enlarger answer suggests that the larger contact print will always be better, presumably due to enlarger lens defects. Even without the lens, diffraction and the fact that the light source is not a point source will create soft edges that become softer the further the negative is moved from the print ie. the greater the enlargement.
I realise you can't create information that isn't in the original file, but eventually a digital file will pixelate when printed too large showing the jaggies "staircase" pattern of aliasing on diagonal and curved edges. Would the wet print from the enlarger just become more and more blurry and indistinct?