Coming from Windows and Linux before, I can never get used to the way Finder sorts items. Especially that folders are not shown at top of the list and that there is no permanent reachable address bar to type in a path, is something I don’t like personally.
Currently I am testing muCommander (http://www.mucommander.com/) as an Finder alternative, which reminds me of Total Commander under Windows. It is free of charge, licensed under GPL 3.0. In addition to everything Finder can do, you can connect FTP, HDFS, HTTP, NFS, S3, SFTP. It is a cross platform application, what is a main advantage for me, because I can get used to it way better now, using it on my Linux and Windows machines as well.
Your files are displayed in two columns showing you exactly what you need to know: filename, size, date and access rights. You can define if you want to open the last visited folder or a user defined folder when you start the application. You can control everything in the application by keyboard. For everything a short key is configured and can be customized as you like.
As it comes out muCommander as finder alternative seems ideal for me. I am confident that it will be very useful and will keep you posted if something new arrives.