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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?
What was the generic carbon fiber tripod that you bought? Interested because, it has been an ordeal for me to find a good stable tripod for my BIF shots.
Mine is Neewer brand. Just search for Neewer Carbon Fiber Tripod. Then search without the brand name once you know what it looks like.