If you’re serious about a good tripod, B&H has the Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 or PRO4 and MT190CXPRO3 or PRO4 carbon fiber tripods on sale for $80-$100 off with mail-in rebate! (All four range from $265 to $309.) For the offer on the 190PRO4 see: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1010693-REG/manfrotto_mt190cxpro4_190cxpro4_carbon_fiber_tripod.html After extensively researching tripods, I have to agree with James that the Manfrotto MT190CXPRO3 is just about the best. However, I am going with the PRO4 version, which has four quick-release leg sections and is 3.4″ shorter folded than the PRO3 with 3 leg section. (Gitzo might be a bit better quality, but their prices range from a low of $759 to a high of $3,999 for their anniversary version.) Bundle the Manfrotto tripod with James’ favorite 496RC2 ball head and it saves another $22 off the total price. Shipping is free and there is no tax outside of NY. Note: (Manfrotto is made in Italy and one of the few that are not made in China.) Offer is good until Aug 31.
Wow, great deal! Let me know how you like the trade-off of compactness and opening a 4th section. I can imagine compactness winning out in the end…mine is a little conspicuous carrying it through the airport. 🙂