Quote Originally Posted by mgb74 View Post
I think ball heads require greater bulk and weight to achieve rigidity that a simple pan/tilt head (assuming same material). If nothing else, for friction area on the ball. Of course, ball heads have their own advantages which may be more important to you.
OK, I'll give that some consideration. I was looking at the ball heads because they seemed to be a little lighter than the traditional pan/tilt heads, while still having sufficient capacity specs.

Quote Originally Posted by mgb74 View Post
Is the prism necessary or can you use a WL finder? If prism is necessary, than is it 45 or 90 degrees? Sounds like a dumb question except that the more the legs are extended (to achieve height) the less stable a given tripod will be.
For the time being the prism (a 90 degree, non metered deal) is all I've got, so I need to plan for using that.

Quote Originally Posted by mgb74 View Post
Tripod light weight, good rigidity, low cost - pick 2.
Right, it's always going to be a compromise. Another way to phrase the question might be: What's the lightest tripod that's sufficiently stable and less than $300? Thankfully I'm still fairly spry, so I'll gladly haul an extra 2 lbs. around if it's going to save me $100/lb.