...with Professional Ball Head.
I'm not a professional reviewer or professional photographer, but I am a hobbyist who enjoys good equipment and getting the job done.
First off, I never thought I'd really have a use for a good tripod. After all I try like heck to avoid lugging my plastic long tripod through the woods. I bought a small sturdy one from another company...I think it would withstand a hurricane.
I also have a very cheap telescoping one meant for pocket cameras, of which I have cheated with and used my light weight Olympus E-420 with.
When visiting my brother in Virginia, I borrowed his tripod. It was not only heavy duty, but it worked so smoothly with my camera while photographing Crabtree Falls, that I decided at that moment to start the research for a good tripod.
I wanted one that I could carry in a backpack. I wanted one that I could travel with. I wanted one that would hold my camera with a long lens in any position I wish to put it. My cheapo tripod did no such thing and it was difficult to get into position. Sticky and cumbersome.
I chose the Dolica because it was so versatile and the reviews on it were quite good. Well, as many as I could find at Amazon and B&H Photo, along with Adorama.
One of the nicer features that it has it even if you loosen the quick release...even by accident, the camera still has to be released. Meaning, it won't fall off the tripod unless you really try to make it do so.
It is fast and easy to set up. At first you may fumble around a bit getting used to the twist release legs ...and figuring out how to lock them and unlock them. But it took me only about 3 minutes of play before I had it working well for me.
I even reversed the legs and used the center column for shooting a macro.
I tried it out the first night I had it for a 20 second exposure after the sun went down. [Shot facing east 45 minutes after the sun had gone down.]
I brought it inside and quickly sized it so grab a shot of Morris on the couch in the fading light.
It is taking me a bit to get used to using the ball head, but I think I'll quickly adjust.
I looked at the MeFoto and the Manfrotto brands and decided to invest in nearly $90 versus nearly $200 for banging around in the woods.
For me the price was right.
Now let's see how it holds up to snowshoeing, backpacking, and all the other stuff I can throw at it.
I'll update my thoughts as I go!