When I rack-up the power on a refractor, I'm looking for fine details, so I'll sacrifice colors. On my 1950s Edmund 4" F15 @ 300x (75x / inch), that meant whites, grays, & blacks... but, I could not only see a festoon on Jupiter, I could trace its "tail" in a zone until it faded away...
The first time I saw really intense colors on Jupiter, I was testing my Tinsley 6" F20 Cass after Majestic recoated its mirrors. No Lie: At just 60x with a spectros KE 50mm, I was stunned. So many shades of brown, orange, & gray -- and the GRS looked like a bloody wound. More amazing to me, the intensity didn't fade much going up to 100x & 200x in that scope. (Yeah, it's a Keeper!)
You hardly ever hear about Jovian color in the refractor. Whether or notthis constitutes a detail one wants to see I suppose is a very complicated question. in some instances black and white photographs even of landscapes will show things that color photographs do not, but also vice versa.and I suppose that could be true of telescopic observation as well though I have yet to see something in my top mounted refractors that I couldn't see in the big scope next to it.
It is true that colors are distracting. They might lure the attention away from details. When I was active on the Yahoo Alpo group I once gave a detailed description of a split in one of the cloud bands that was not visible in some otherwise very excellent CCD images taken the same night. As the band widened it became more evident to the images in the following days. So the camera does not always win over the eye.
I sort of see what Alan is getting at and it is an important point. When you look at an open cluster in an 80mm telescope the stars you see look look like a bright star field. You don't feel that you're starved for stars. If you simultaneously look through a larger scope you're going to see many more stars. One can do this experiment with the double cluster in Perseus. I think at equivalent exit pupils it probably is true that the brightness is the same. But this does not account for why it is the color is so much easier to see in the FS-128 and then it is in the 81 or 92 mm.
I suspect that at a larger image scale the colors trigger more cones in the eye.
I'm also pretty sure all of this, meaning the relationship between detail, color, exit pupil, and perception, has been figured out by people smarter than me. I could give you my reasons why one type of car corners better than another type of car and some of those reasons might even be true. But when it gets into all the details of cornering performance I'm sure someone who designs cars for racing or even race tracks would have a much more thorough understanding than anything I could offer.