Recently, the diffractogram, that is, the Fourier transform of the intensity contrast induced by Fresnel free-space propagation of a given (exit) wave field, was investigated non-perturbatively in the phase-scaling factor S (controlling the strength of phase variation) for the special case of a Gaussian phase of width √w. Surprisingly, an additional low-frequency zero σ* = σ*(S, F) >0 emerges critically at small Fresnel number F (σ proportional to square of 2D spatial frequency). Here, we study the S-scaling behavior of the entire diffractogram. We identify a valley of maximum S-scaling linearity in the F − σ plane corresponding to a nearly universal physical frequency ξml = (0:143 ± 0.001)w−1/2. Large values of F (near field) are shown to imply S-scaling linearity for low σ but nowhere else (overdamped non-oscillatory). In contrast, small F values (far field) entail distinct, sizable s-bands of good S-scaling linearity (damped oscillatory). These bands also occur in simulated diffractograms induced by a complex phase map (Lena). The transition from damped oscillatory to overdamped non-oscillatory diffractograms is shown to be a critical phenomenon for the Gaussian case. ... mehrWe also give evidence for the occurrence of this transition in an X-ray imaging experiment. Finally, we show that the extreme far-field limit generates a σ-universal diffractogram under certain requirements on the phase map: information on phase shape then is solely encoded in S-scaling behavior.