I would like to know where Peter can get a Carbon 269 for $200. You can get the aluminum version for $200. I have owned a c268 and c269. The 269 is really sturdy!! equal to the 268. THe 269 is as sturdy as my C258ex or sturdier. Which are both sturdier than a Manfrotto 055cxpro. Quality of components is equal to Bogen, and the are serviced by the Mac group in USA. I have sold them both on FM beacuse of a shoulder injury, the twist motion kills me, I have gone to flip locks. That being said I am considering selling my c258ex and purchasing the flip lock version of the c269.
The b1 head is a nice head! I prefer a seperate drag contol. Very close to KIrk BH 3 ball head quality, not quite but 1/3 of the price. Hope that helps.
As a fair reflection of the 055cxpro their column can go horizontal making it not as sturdy as a trade off. I dont like the benro system of horizontal columns, they are clunky all the time.