Illegal Mexican wrote:
The Manfrotto seems to have more bells and whistles though in terms of adjustments. I also like that when using portrait mode, it tilts 90 degrees counter-clockwise placing the shutter button above not below (like I would do if I were holding it in my hands). The Velbon tilts it clockwise.
While it's possible to use the self timer to reduce vibrations, you should consider getting a remote release for tripod work making the shutter button placement irrelevant.
My main concern with the Manfrotto is the height. I'm about 6 feet tall, maybe a little taller (about 180-181 cm tall). The max height of this tripod is 143 cm with the centre column fully extended (and yes, I know that reduces stability a bit).
Quite a lot. This video gives you some idea. You should also consider the danger of the tripod toppling over in windy conditions. You can help this to some extent by weighing the tripod down with a bag attached to a hook below the centre column, but the tripod's centre of gravity will be at the apex of the legs. Any weight on the tripod should be as close to the apex as possible.
If I add another 8-10 cm for the height of the viewfinder from the base of the T4i, we get to 151-153 cm. Using a measuring tape, I have determined that my eye level (without wearing shoes) is roughly 161-163 cm. This means that my eyes are roughly 8-10 cm higher than the viewfinder. I seem to be able to reach the viewfinder level with some minor head tilting which doesn't appear to place any strain on my neck/back.
Should I be concerned about the height of this tripod and get the Velbon (or something else) instead, or is it close enough to do the trick?
I'd be concerned about the height. There may be times in the future when you want to point the camera up while mounted to the tripod. Eye-level (or higher) will be useful.