Well if you look at the noise comparison, Gordon concludes that the D300 has the slight edge and the D300's and A700's results are very similar(same sensor).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the E-3 is a poor camera. I just don't think that IQ is its strong point when compared to other similar priced cameras.
I don't agree. In Gordon's review the JPEG files had better image quality than the D300 except for noise at high ISO's. Also, when comparing two quality lenses the corner to corner sharpness of the E-3 was better than the D300, in spite of the Olympus lens being a 24mm to 120mm equivalent and the Nikon being 25mm to 83mm equivalent.. This is not simply a function of the lenses used, but also an inherent characteristic of the 4/3 design.
The somewhat higher noise at high ISOs is often mitigated by being able to use a 1 f/stop lower ISO at the same equivalent field of view, depth of field (approximately the same DOF for the E-3 at 1/f/stop wider) and shutter speed. I personally prefer the overall image quality of the E-3, but setting aside my personal preferences, I think the better corner to corner sharpness of the 4/3 is worth at least as much as the slightly better noise performance of the D300 at higher ISOs . I think a fair rating would find image quality equal.