<Downsizing is not the same as cropping. Photographers using the DX crop or cropping to 15MP after the fact should expect about the same noise performance as the D7000.>
Jim - that is correct. If you have a 15mp DX crop, you will negate the advantage of the larger megapixels and will have something very close to the D7000. That's still a fine camera and nearly a full stop better than the D300 in terms of noise.