Yes, it is normal.
When film is sitting inside the neg holder, the cutout of the neg holders are much thicker and in a different plane than the images on the neg. The DOF at the film is really thin. It is impossible to focus both on the negative and the image. Sprocket holes and the imprinting on the negative should be sharp but the borders created by the hole on the neg holder won't be.
When I print with my D2, I have to be careful NOT to include the border created by the neg holder within the image area of the easel - or otherwise, I'll have a blurry border.