I've decided to pick up a new tripod this year. The shop near me has pretty good deals on the Manfrotto 055XPROB and 190XPROB right now. I really enjoy hiking and have particularly enjoyed winter hikes the last couple of years. The solitude that comes with the cold weather makes the woods a little more peaceful. I started to enjoy macro photography last year, but found it difficult to capture good images hand-held. I have an old department store tripod, but I can't use it at ground level. I find the mushrooms, mosses and lichens pretty intriguing right now. The two tripods mentioned above would be a great fit for my needs, but I want to make sure that I'm not overlooking other options. The shop also has a Vanguard Alta with a tilting center column, but it didn't seem as sturdy as the Manfrotto 190XPROB that I was looking at. I can get the 055XPROB for $20 more than the 190XPROB, but I don't know if that is going to cross into being too heavy/bulky to carry on backpacking trips. The smaller camera size is one of the things that initially attracted me to :43: and I'm afraid that the 055xprob might be a little big for my pack. 10 years ago I wouldn't have questioned it, but as I get older, I am trying to keep my pack under 35 lbs. The only other factor here is the Minolta 300mm f4 that I haven't managed to get a great picture with yet. Most of my shots have been hand held, but even my cheap tripod doesn't seem to help much. I'd like to try it out with the new tripod, but I'm afraid that the smaller Manfrotto may be awkward to use with the big lens unless I extend the column. Maybe I just go with the 0190 now and spring for a larger set of CF legs down the road if I feel like I need something larger. Any thoughts?