I want to get a good tripod. My current one cost $60, is cumbersome (tightening lever gets in the way of the camera mount), and is being held together by a screw and wire because a screw fell out holding one of the legs on.
I'm looking for a good, sturdy, versatile tripod for longer morning exposures, macro capabilities for SLRs without live view (5D, EOS-3, and maybe a 1v soon), and some use with my Bigma. There will be some hiking, but I am not afraid of a little weight since I have the Bigma and carbon fiber can add $100s to the cost. A good balance between low minimum height and taller maximum height as well, though I know one tripod can't do it all! I want to get something good that fits my needs. Budget is $300-500.
The choices are a bit overwhelming and there is only one place near me that carries good tripods, so there are many options that I cannot see in person. I know there are fully useable tripods and then those that require you to add a ball head as an extra.