I've been borrowing a cheap Velbon tripod with a built-in 3-way head from a relative for a while. I returned it to him because I'm sick of using a wobbly, frustrating tripod. So, now I need to buy a tripod. I do mostly outdoor nature photos, as well as some event and performance photography. I also like to do long exposure night photography. This will be something that I take on walks and hikes. I've found a Manfrotto 190XProB with 486RC2 head as a kit for $230 CAD (approx. $200 USD). From what I gather, it's not a bad deal and it's a lot cheaper than at some other Canadian retailers. I tried one out in a store and while it is nice and sturdy, I think it will be to heavy for me at 5+ lbs with the head (in addition to my camera bag). I'm 5'7" and 145 lbs, so while the tripod's height is not an issue (and I don't often use it at full extension anyway), I feel that 5+ lbs with the head will be a problem for me. Yes, I know the tripod rule -- weight, strength, price; pick two -- but I simply can't afford to spend $500+ before the head and I don't think it's even practical to do that for the D40 setup I have. Because of that, I'm also considering a Manfrotto 679B monopod for taking along on walks as hikes to use mainly as an alternative to hand-holding. It's a lot more palatable to carry at 2.3 lbs with the head and it's also easier and quicker to deploy than a tripod. The only thing is, I feel a little silly spending that much on a tripod that I don't think I'll use terribly often. Or perhaps there's a specific use or something I haven't thought of? One more challenge: I need to decide quickly as I am leaving for a vacation in 2 weeks.