Alan Dixon on the Cedar Run trail, Shenandoah National Park. Panasonic GF1, 20mm, f/1.7, 1/400 sec.
To me, one very important benefit of a camera with a “larger” sensor is the ability to push its image data around during post processing. Some call this “robustness”. Others call it “resilience”. It is probably the most defining difference between smaller and larger sensors.
It’s also a key measure that I use to compare similar sensors, such as those in the Panasonic GF1 and the Olympus E-P1. The latter provides data that is tough to push around. My upcoming review at Backpacking Light of the E-P1 suggests this indirectly. I notice it simply by the loss of color data, and detail. Images from the Panasonic GF1, however, seem to be less sensitive to aggressive post-processing, which means you can do more with them in terms of adjusting color, contrast, luminance, and detail.
It is one (of a few) reasons why I favor the Panasonic GF-1 over the Olympus E-P1, and perhaps, the most important one.