When I first took this tripod out of the box and then the case, silica gel beads started falling out out because the packet had broken, leaving a mess to clean up.
The ball head had a sticky residue. It had been put together with too much lube. I don't know what kind of grease was used, but it wasn't a high quality one. I'm assuming that cold storage caused it to stiffen. As a result, the panning motion of the ball head was difficult to rotate. Give it a few hours, and it'll loosen up nicely. Alternatively, do yourself a favor and take apart the ball head, clean it well, and re-lube with your preferred grease.
A set of screws and washers that secures one of legs to the spider (or I guess furniture as 3LT likes to call it) kept coming lose. Moving the leg up and down caused the screws to undo themselves. This can be remedied with a couple drops of blue Loctite to hold it tight and maintain tension.
The angles that this tripod can be positioned is 23, 55, and 80 degrees. My old Manfrotto 055MF3 legs sat at 23 degrees as well, but because Eric is so light, the heavy ball head raised the center of balance, and I would've preferred a slightly wider stance at the tallest setting. I think later on, I want to ask 3LT to create a short center column or have the included extension tube have a bigger screw, so that I could the ball head and base (with a longer base to cover the spider screw completely) rest securely onto the spider ('furniture'), while being able to keep the spring loaded hook attached at the bottom. I don't have any really issues with the center column as is. I am 6'0" (183cm) tall, and at 23 degrees with the center column down, ball head, RRS L-plate, and Canon EOS 5D Mark II set at the horizontal position, the eyepiece is perfectly at eye level. I rest my camera bag on the hook, or if you find your bag too heavy, use bungee cord to help anchor the tripod via hook to your camera bag sitting on the ground. There's also an option stone bag for this tripod as well.
The last thing I want to point out, is that I wish there was another notch to lock the 23 degree setting in. However, if you have set the tension and the stance when setting it up correctly, you won't have any worries about the legs folding in while moving positions.
Bought on clearance for $359.
The only thing good I can say is that the ball head locks securel. It holds up Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 50mm f1.2L USM or Canon EF 35mm f1.4L USM lens with ease, but the tension knob collar function is questionable. Doesn't do anything. Overall, with the right amount of care, it'll be a solid light-weight, versatile, tripod that was meant to be taken apart for self-maintenance.
However, I don't trust this tripod with my camera. Nope! No sir! Quickly filled out an RMA request online. There are not enough tripod spikes and stone bags to change my mind about that.
Should've ordered a Feisol 3441T and Markins Q3 Traveler without hesitation. Glad I got the "maybe I can go for a cheaper tripod" idea out of my system.
Happy note: Got my first L-plate... an RRS one USED. It's the best thing since sliced bread. Love it.