I was at B&H Photo today - Just barely got out of there with my life . I think I have resolved myself to the Gitzo 2542L tripod. I think it will do everything that I want (For Now). I hope to start birding soon, but I still only have the 70-200vr f/2.8 with teleconverter, so this should be plenty of tripod for me. The question is the ball head? I got to see and hold the Arca-swiss Z1 while I was there, and it was very nice, smooth and sturdy feeling. I have heard that alot of people like the really right stuff BH-55. Can anyone weigh in and tell me what there ball head of choice is? I typically shoot landscapes, family & Zoo's. I would however like to start shooting birds, so the Z1 would adapt nicely to a Wimberly sidekick. I'd like to buy the best that I can afford even if it means waiting a while and saving my money. Right now I have budget of about $400 - $500. I appreciate all your help in advance.