Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
Exactly. But, you will have to enlarge the 4x5 sheet 1/4 as much as the 35mm! So does it all cancel out? Does shooting at 4:1 then contact printing have any advantage over shooting at 1:1 and enlarging 4x?

People talk like shooting to smaller magnification and enlarging is better than shooting at larger magnification then enlarging less. At least that's the way it seems because they always advocate 35mm for macro applications and say leave the view camera at home. Landscape, it's exactly the opposite, both for supposed image quality reasons.
Assuming good lenses and film, a two, four or eight times lifesize image will contain more detail than a lifesize image. The only catch here is the depth of field and diffraction effects. This affects landscapes and portraits as well but I think the extreme DOF at close focus distances makes the problem worse for that work than for landscapes.

I'm trying to think if you'll have 8x narrower DOF at 8:1 or more than that. If it is 8x narrower will it be less obvious in a contact print than the required 8x enlargement of a 1:1 image? Is there a nonlinear factor which won't come out in the wash?

Grain and tonality will be better on the larger piece of film. If the other factors can be practically overcome then the larger format should win but can you buy or make an 8:1 setup for an 8x10 camera?