and a bit less well-heeled, here's my suggested: the Promaster C423W. It's carbon, four section, short enough to fit in a carry-on bag if you unscrew your ball head. Vibrations dampen quickly with carbon, and though it's light, the center post has a hook if you want to add weight. The legs have releases which let them swing out all the way to horizontal. No gold trim though--but it does have a built-in level and compass, neither of which you'll ever use. It cost me just about $110 US without the head. Time will tell regarding durability (Chinese made), but I've been very happy with it (and my heavy standard Benbo is getting much less use).