I've had one for a few weeks now. Upgraded from the D3100 that I shot my last short on (search imdb for "retcon" for a trailer) for better manual control, + slow motion filming options. The D3100 could shoot manual but you had to go through a process of tricking the sensor into the right settings which was cumbersome so the full manual controls are really welcome to me.
So far I'm very happy with the upgrade, at ISO200 the video is super clean even in very dark situations, but if you go to ISO400/800 it's not only noisy, but the noise is very distracting and non-uniform the way it flickers on and off screen. If I had to pump up the ISO Id go to ISO1600 cause at least the noise is uniform at that point, it's very grainy at that point, but not flickering/distracting. I'm filming with nikon's 35mm F1.8 and Tokina's 11-16mm F2.8 and I have a lighting package, so filming at ISO200 is fine for me in most situations.
The new processor is much better, I've yet to induce much "jello" in handheld situations whereas with the D3100 I had to be a lot more careful about this. I've been averaging about 23mbps on it on the "high" video settings, I used to max out on the D3100 around 21 with 18 as an average, and those few extra bits in their codec are noticeable, I get more textured video on close ups so far.
24MP's, good, will be similar to MK2/3 on the crop frame takes.
No uncompressed 14 bit raw, not so good. No direct to SSD video out, not so good. I don't think there's anything else in this price range that does those things either. You can't expect miracles for a slightly higher than entry-level price.
Does the higher MP really matter for newbies? The difference with the higher MP count is that you'll need a steadier hand to keep your still shots as sharp. It's supposedly the same on the D800, Nikon released some literature with regards to that.
I'm getting ready to film a new project in the fall with this camera and have been doing a lot of testing to see what I can get out of it. I want to use more complicated light setups and more dynamic camera movement than I did in my previous films where I used the D3100 (where I mostly used broad high key lighting and static shots). It's definitely a step up from that camera, and I still feel the look I get from the Nikon's is more pleasing to me than a competing Cannon (I haven't tried any panasonics.) I've pulled great, very clean keys from it (I also did this with the D3100) you just need to make sure you light correctly for it, shoot flat in camera, and convert to ProRes before you do the compositing work. IMHO so far, if you can't afford a D7000 and want Nikon I think it's a great option.