I've wanted a tripod for quite some while but I've been reluctant to buy one because I do not know my requirements. I'm thinking of going used because it seems like a better value overall. I also know that you can't really find one that is sturdy, light, and cheap so I'm willing to compromise but saving a few bucks isn't one of my priorities. My budget is flexible. With some things, it's better to spend the money. I'm not planning on overspending ofcourse but I have some questions and seek some advice so that I can make a better informed decision. My primary intention is for portraits. On site mostly so I value portability and weight but since I am not hiking weight is less of an issue. I do not care for really low or really high angles and I'm 6' if that matters. My primary camera is a Rolleiflex but the most demanding camera that I might* add in the future is a Hasselblad with a 180mm lens. I do not know if I will but I'm just throwing this out there. I have no intention of acquiring a large format camera. 1. Brands. What brands should I look into. I'm thinking Manfrotto but maybe even Gitzo. This is because Ken Rockwell said so . It seems that Manfrotto is the better value for general purposes but Gitzo is top-of-the-line choice. 2. Carbon Fiber vs Aluminum. I'm thinking Aluminum because my weight requirements are not as stringent as they are for landscape photographers who need to lug a camera with a bunch of heavy gear. I believe that Carbon Fiber handles vibration better so a carbon fiber tripod can have a lower supported weight, I think. 3. Models. With Manfrotto I'm thinking of getting a 3021/055XB or maybe even 3011/190XB with a comparable ball head. Not sure which Gitzo models to look into because the older ones, which are more affordable, seem to be more difficult to find information. Anyone have any experience with these Manfrotto tripods and my cameras of choice? Or experience moving from an Aluminum to a Carbon Fiber tripod? My gut feeling is that I do not need a Gitzo or a Carbon Fiber tripod and my selection is fine but I just want to hear your thoughts. Thanks.