Another thought ... I'm curious because I don't see many people comment on that, maybe it is just me ... Do any of you have the height of the tripod as a priority when choosing a tripod?
And by that I mean that to me it is vital that the tripod unfolds at its max height (without center column extended if it has one) and puts the view finder of my camera right in front of my eyes so I don't have to bend up or down at all and can just get going with the photo taking. That way, I only have to worry about extending the legs fully and then I know that the tripod is going to sit perfectly level at the right height for me. Sometimes I only have couple of minutes to take a shot, I don't want to have another thing to worry about such as adjusting and making a tripod perfectly level on a tripod that is too tall for me when fully extended.
Currently, the only brand that offers tripod legs that unfold at the perfect height for me is Manfrotto (around 56"). But like I said, I see people comment on just about every other feature when picking a tripod.
That is why I sold my RRS tripod. I'm almost 6f tall and the TVC33 put my camera at a level where if I wanted to see the top window of my camera, I would have to unmount it from the tripod, there was no other way.
Did you ever consider leaving the bottom section extended at the proper height but collapsing the others completely? Unless you have transportation length issues that usually works fine. You can always mark the bottom sections to the correct height as well. I doubt that many people can actually find a tripod that is at the exact height they need when fully extended. That's why they are adjustable. I almost always use mine outdoors on uneven ground. There is no set height for me, it's all over the place. I survive.