Yes expensive, but the best will outlast several generations of cameras. I still have a heavy aluminum Gitzo from the '70's that functions perfectly - that's almost 50 years old. One problem with buying either Gitzo or RRS used is that people tend to buy them and use them for life (although since I'm old my wife may sell mine off in ….).This has all been very useful. I don't buy much new, so now starts the hunt! Thank you for all the information. Please keep it coming...
When I was in Glacier two years ago (not a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip, but it will be a long time before we return), with a crap tripod, messing up amazing long exposure photos because of tripod movement, I realized the absurdity of putting $5,000+ of camera and glass on a $20 tripod was: 1. stupid 2. a disaster waiting to happen and 3. an exercise in frustration
I will say that I had no idea that good, basic tripods were almost a grand. I know that gear prices go sky high, but I wasn't expecting that from "basic but adequate" stuff. Eh, live and learn.
Already found a couple on craigslist, and RIT is local, students DUMP gear every spring.
I have a Gitzo Explorer in carbon fibre and with three leg sections. It is fine with my 200mm micro lens and camera. It's okay with my 300mm F4 lens too. Carbon fibre really does damp vibrations. My tripod is about 10 years old and works like new. Large areas of paint have flaked off the metal, apart from that it's perfect. I'm not saying Gitzo is the best, there may be Chinese clones that are nearly as good, or maybe even better.I've never had a good tripod. The ones that I currently own are small and flimsy, and I'm tired of blurry pictures due to wind or even shutter vibration.
Any recommendations on a sturdy one that won't break the bank?