I've been thinking about getting a tripod for some time, but the more I read on the subject, the more confused I get. I'm definitely suffering from paralysis by analysis. It seems like the consensus with tripods is to "buy it once, buy it right" and that cheap tripods are almost worse than no tripod at all. That said, I don't want to spend US$1000-1,500 for a Gitzo or Really Right Stuff carbon fiber job. My budget is around US$250 for the legs and a ball head. I intend to use the tripod to start shooting some HDR/landscapes as well as the occasional school performance. I'm really drawn toward the Benro Travel Angel (particularly the Transfunctional design where one leg can become a monopod), based on several recommendations that I've read on other threads. However, I'm noticing that the A0691 model that I'm considering seems fairly short (51.2"/130cm w/ the center column down and 60.6"/154 cm w/ the column extended). I realize the ball head will add another 2-3"/10cm but even with the head and the column fully extended (read: wobbly), my camera will still be just barely up to my eye level (I'm 6'/183cm tall). The other model I've long been considering is the Manfrotto 190XProB which is actually a bit shorter than the Benro. However, I recently discovered they make a taller version of the 190 series called the 190 More which is 2-3"/10cm taller than the Benro which would seem to make it a very usable height. I like the idea of the tilting center column on the Manfrotto and the fact that it's a 3-section (as opposed to the Benro's 5-section) design. The trade-off is more bulk and a less compact package when retracted. So, my big question, for those of you who have lots of tripod experience is how much does height matter when choosing a tripod? I realize that a tripod is going to be less stable when fully extended, so do you just set up your tripod lower and get used to crouching a bit to frame your shots?