I have not much experience with D300. But did use it for sometime and was quite impressed by it then. However, I felt like it was a big leap. So went back to D200 to catch up the basic skills first. But with 17-55mm on D300, I got very nice shots even in full auto mode.
For me my days are over with film cameras. Got rid of all of them. Only kept the glasses for use with DSLR. Anyway, I think DSLR is a fantastic learning tool for photography, no cost incurred for the mistakes (of course if it is learning) and can learn from one's mistakes right away. Not to talk about histogram when choosing exposure.
I would appreciate if you can elaborate on how film cameras help to tune skill with Digital photography. Can we use DSLR for the same? Of course I know film camera force one to be seriously engaged in when shooting in order avoid cost and risk of bad shots. DSLR spoils us in a way by forgiving too much. Is that what you meant?