During our last trip to Comox, I lost my tripod. I think I left it at the museum. That tripod has accompanied me on every single trip since mid 2004. The tripod itself was almost due for replacement, because it didn't provide enough support anymore for my current gear.
So, I decided to buy another tripod. This time, I want to buy a pro tripod within my price range, because I will bring it for sure in most of my trip. Speaking of pro tripod, there are only two brands in my mind: Gitzo and Manfrotto. I browse online trying to make a decision. It's hard to decide when you don't touch the actual item. Hence, I visited my camera store and spent sometimes playing with various tripods from these two manufacturers.
There is one Gitzo tripod that I really like; however, due to price constraint, I had to go with Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod, 190CXPRO4. This model was released this year on March 2008.
One cool feature for this tripod is the "Manfrotto’s innovative and award-winning Q90° (Quick Center Column System)". It allows the center column to be rotated to horizontal position with a simple motion.
The tripod is 100% carbon fiber and it utilizes magnesium alloy for the top plate.
Most pro tripod doesn't come with tripod head, so I have to purchase the head as well. As for the tripod head, I am open to any brands. My requirement is fairly simple: it can handle the load of my camera and one of my heaviest lens, plus a quick release. After playing around with several brands, I decided to go with Giotto MH1301.
It is a ball-head type. I prefer ball head compare to three way head when it comes to photography. There are two rotating dial for controlling the friction of the ball. There is one rotating dial for adjusting the rotation angle that will come useful when taking panoramic.
That's it. I haven't used the tripod intensively. I can't hardly wait for my next trip :)