Hey all- I am looking at purchasing a tripod as a gift and know the circumstances under which the tripod will mostly be used for but am not sure what to look for. I've been searching around the internet for a couple of days and am still lost... help? =) The camera is a Canon XTi. It is used for both business shots (artwork, sculpture, etc.) and everyday life which includes a lot of mountains and National Parks. It would be nice if the tripod were light enough for hiking/backpacking, but the main concern would be stability and good quality components. This is something that needs to last for a while because of being on student budgets. I am not sure of the difference between ball/3-way heads- lots of people seem to prefer ball but I'm not sure if that matters or not? I would love to have the retractable spikes in the feet for the outdoors as there is a lot of ice/snow around here (if they actually make a difference?). Legs that can move independently would be nice (it'll be in rough terrain a lot) as well as a bubble thing (hey, I'm new to this!), and the more height it can get, the better (as long as it is stable). Right now it is only the camera and included lens (lightweight) but eventually there will be macro lenses and telephoto, so I'd like something that can handle a little growth (although once the huge lenses become affordable for him, I'm sure he'll be able to update the tripod!). Also, I don't mind if it is a leg/head combo- not set; as long as they fit together and will fit the camera, that is fine. Anything like this out there in the $100-$200 range? Or is that asking for a miracle?