This is a two part question to avoid making two seperate threads to keep things, with hope, more simple...
1) What is the consensus at present time about "the look" from contact printing a 5X7 or larger piece of film vs. scanning the film and printing it off the inkjet?
2) I have read probably way too many threads on digital scanners, with too many different views. Of course the Epson V750, Microtek 1800, etc. scanners are said to be either comparable/just as good as a drum scan (especially since these files go into extensive photoshop anyhow) OR they are greatly inferior and more importantly "limited" to final output print size. In other words, the drum scan will allow, say, an 8X10 negative to be enlarged to 40X60, whereas a flatbed would be limited and should not be used to more than 16X20 (usually said about 4X5 scanning, but seemingly applicable to any size film since it is clipping at a certain size so it doesn't matter what size the film is due to the scanner's "limiting threshold". At the same time, I have heard people say the flatbeds can indeed produce massive prints with zero distortion/grain/and perfect clarity, etc. So my question here is, what do people that have had "extensive" experience with the highest end flatbeds such as the V750/Microtek/etc. have to say about what can be achieved with them AND if film size makes any difference (i.e. if there is the threshold factor with respect to the scanner's limitation=no reason to bother with 8X10 other than to keep grain minimized if doing b/w and 4X5).
Hope this all makes sense and it will spark some interesting conversation about where things are at in this day of age with regards to "the final print".