After buying a generic carbon tripod/ball head from everyone's favorite online store named after a long river, I'm not feeling the price. For about 1/3 of this, I got a very nice 8-layer carbon tripod, with monopod-convertible leg and reversible center column. Max height of 66 inches. The ball head is smooth enough for me and uses standard Arca-Swiss plates. With the money I didn't spend on my tripod, I bought a generic gimbal head, disassembled it and smoothed out the bushings with some 600/800 grit sandpaper, and reassembled it with proper litihium grease for a silky-smooth action. The combo is sturdy enough to support my DSLR and 170-500 Sigma (with center column all the way down) for birds-in-flight pics.
I guess if brand names is your thing, this is a good deal?