Summary: I've owned inexpensive camera tripods in the past, but when I stepped up to a quality (heavy) spotting scope, I decided that I needed to pair it with a quality tripod to get the most from it. Manfrotto has an excellent reputation for quality and based on my experience with this tripod, that reputation appears well earned. I paired this with a horizontal grip style head and the combination has proven to be outstanding for my needs. Set it and forget it.
Excerpt: I love this tripod! The center column easily moves into a vertical position, which has helped with some recent work I've had shooting food dishes. I use it with two heads: the Manfrotto 303 Plus and the Manfrotto 804RC2 head (I use a grip with the three way head). I can switch heads quickly and they do not turn on the axis of the tripod.
Excerpt: Not a hiker's tripod, this aluminum tripod is a very sturdy and versatile piece of quality equipment. The Manfrotto universal joint is excellent for getting perspective stability, and the legs have very good reach and sturdiness. With 11 lbs/5kg maximum weight (don't forget the ballhead) this unit can support all but the heaviest 2.8 long lenses and bodies. (If you're tracking birds in flight using a Bigam, you will want something sturdier).
Summary: Bought this as a replacement for my Manfrotto190 (from 1991). Changed the old Manfrotto 128RC head to the new legs and BINGO! The quick clamps are just that .... quick. Accurate leveling works really well; for the time being I leave the larger bull's eye level mounted on the head to double check. The foam grips on two legs will be appreciated once winter sets in. The switchable column is an additional extra. In short: Excellent value!