I spent hours in researching internet and testing various tripods / ball heads in the stores. Finally, I have made up my mind and picked up Gitzo 1542T with Kirk BH-3 ball head.
Weight: the combo is less than 1.5 kg for both
: Although it's less compact than 1541T (because of a longer central column) but still small enough with total length less than 52 cm with ball head attached.
Sturdiness: Tested with several film and digital cameras & lenses and it is sturdy as a rock.What's important with Kirk ball head is when you lock it it's locked. It doesn't move at all. Nada, zero, no moves at all.
X-PRO1 + Minolta MD 200 1:2.8
Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5 Film Camera
Sony NEX-F3 with Nikkor 180 mm 1:2.8 EDEasy of use: you can extend it to a full length or completely collapse in seconds.
Quick Release Plates: I got one with Kirk ballhead. I also bought Arca Swiss compatible plates in a bulk from eBay, 5 pieces for $30. Called Marumi TB-12. Package says: made in Japan (?) who knows, but they work well on all my cameras and special wrench is not required.
Canon 5D MII with 70-200 mm 1:4 L
NEX-F3 with Nikkor AI-S 105mm 1:2.5 (love tilting LCD screen)
What can I add? Both tripod and the ball head are built to the highest standards. This combo works extremely well with all my cameras and lenses. Light weight, compactness and sturdiness makes it perfect traveler's companion.
Thanks for dropping by,