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So, I used some Christmas money to get a new tripod, that was really needed. The old one, which I've had for probably 15 yrs, was an inexpensive Quantaray that served its purpose, but was far from heavy duty and currently had one leg held open by duct tape. My goal was to get a decent, heavy duty (or at least more so than the old one) tripod for under $200.00. Started doing some research on the internet and reading about aluminum versus carbon fiber, etc. Anyway, I read a pretty good review about the one I ended up buying, an aluminum VanGuard Alta Pro 263AT with a VanGuard SBH-100 ball head. I was able to keep the cost just under my $200.00 goal for both the tripod and head. Haven't had a chance to field test it yet, but played around the house with it a little and it has some cool features that my old tripod did not. The old one, the center post went up and down, plus had a pan handle (which I hated). The other thing was that the legs were tethered to one another. The new one, the legs are independent of each other and can splay to three different angles, the center post goes up and down, pulls completely out (to put in upside down, I think) and it also allows the center post to rotate to a horizontal position, so you can get your tripod mounted camera to probably within 10" of the ground, which could come in handy for those low angle shots! It also has a retractable hook in the center post to help with stability. Hoping to get out there and give this new tripod a workout this weekend or maybe even tomorrow!!