Ok, I'm in the market for a tripod. I'm looking at in the range of maybe $400ish (flexible) which I think is reasonable given the use it will likely get. I want quality that will serve me well, but can't justify a huge price tag. I have a cheap and nasty tripod now that might only get used once every month or two. I would be using for general landscape shots, day and night and maybe a dabble in macro one day.
I've read many threads that have plenty of people talking up their gear (not a bad thing), but I have some questions more about what to look for.
3 way vs ball head?
I've got a cheap and very nasty 3 way head that I shouldn't use to judge them. I'm really split on this one, do I go a good 3 way head, or a low to mid range ball head? I've not used a ball head and not really sure about them. Do they stay tight, do they allow for small adjustments etc? Are $200 ball heads good quality?
Tripod Leg locking? Twist lock vs flippy catch?
The manfrotto style click in locking leg is what I'm familiar with and I don't mind them but I recall Arthur being rather taken by his twist lock legs (no not his dodgy knee!). Do they stay tight though, or wear over time? Seems this is the big difference between Manfrotto and Benro.
My current cheapo has a bad mounting plate with sharp edges that I can't leave on the camera. I'd love one with a decent d ring that I could attach my r-strap too, but not a deal breaker. The mounting plate seems to be an area with the mid range gear that I struggle to find any detail on.
I'll leave it at that for now, I'd love to hear what people think the pros and cons of the different styles and what to look for and why. And then on from that, what recommendations and why.