Well as some of you may know... I got chance to pick up a refurb 2800 cheap... as a "who cares" back up to my expensive S602... I don't want to risk.
It's been an interesting experimentation... as to anyone wondering is the S602 really worth the extra $$$?
I now FULLY understand what ever many have said about the 28/3800 in low light situations... pretty poor if you don't carry a flashlight along.
It (2800) is also being basically P&S and little else pretty poor at marginal circumstances.
One of the great features of the S602 is you can separate the AF from the AE. You can't with the 28/3800. This makes both poor at "close up" sunset shots (like clouds) where the AF totally fails for no defined lines.
With the 602 it somewhat has the same problem, BUT since AF and AE are separable you can focus elsewhere near infinity (like the horizon) and then reframe... but with the 28/300 since AF & AE are tied together you are also stuck with the horizon exposure setting... doesn't work when you go back to the sky.
The EVF on the 602 can be hard to make out exactly what you are shooting sometimes in VERY low light, but the AF rarely fails... maybe second attempt to lock it... but the 28/3800 between being stuck at 100 ISO (vs 400 on the 602)plus total dependence on AF and much lower sensitivity, this gets VERY problematic. Even if the second try with AF on the 602 (rare) you can still manually tweak it if has to be. The 602 also has IR focus assist, rather than pure contrast based TTL focus the 28/3800 have.
It really surprised me that the 3800 though a 3.2mp instead of 2.1... is still 100 ISO speed... would think they would have at least upped that to 200 along with the more manual features over the 2800. This alone is those two cameras biggest hinderance .
Now don't get me wrong... for the cheap back up camera I bought the 2800 for it really doesn't disappoint and the basic P&S "average shot but still 6x" camera I really bought it for... but that it falls so far short anywhere outside that realm, was a disappointment.
Again the 3800 probably not as severe, but still ISO 100, though it can take lenses and filters, plus more manual control (though still not full) is a considerable limitation.
So the question comes down is the S602 worth the extra bucks.... if you are considering a 3800 and have the money to spend... ABSOLUTELY!!! You can do and it yields just so much more if you are doing anything beyond snap shots. (Again the 28 and less so the 3800, are sort of limited to)
2800 to 602 is a BIG leap... but not so much 3800 to 602... again you can squeeze the $$$ out of your budget, you won't be disappointed... the 3800 you are probably going to be pulling hairs out in relatively short order, if you know what cameras are about.
Oh, and one last thought...
the 28/300 while still what many would consider bulky... are just a little too tiny. still have the nice firm right hand grip and controls at fingers reach (ALL the Fuji's I have seen are EXTREMELY well ergonomically designed)... but not nearly as balanced as the 602... which is the first digital camera I have ever had my hands on that just "felt" like it was my old 35mm SLR... doing 1/4 sec hand helds is quite easy... not a test of coordination.
OOPS I lied two thoughts... not sure about the 3800, but since the 2800 is pretty much full auto... you have no exposure info in the EVF, whereas the 602 in ALL modes gives you that exposure information (Even FULL AUTO)... and again maybe only important if you know what cameras are about... maybe you should go into another mode/setting to better capture it.
[Edit- Relates to this thread.]