I hope someone can help me out - I am looking for a good (not to expensive) tripod. I use a Nikon 990 Coolpix.
Kaidan.com offers KiWi 990 for 199.95$ - If any of you use this, please reply back and tell me if it's good or bad.
Let me see if I can shed a little light on the subject. My primary experiance is with video support systems that are a lot more substantial systems becouse they are meant to hold cameras up to 20lbs. Generally a camera support system is made up of three parts: "The sticks" or legs, the leveler, and the tripod head. The Kiwi 990 for $199.95 is just for the bracket that holds the camera and in this case it is also the "head" in the system. I also see that Kaidan also offers "quick tilt leveler" for an additional price sugg. retail $149.95 $120.00 if you buy it together with the 990 head. Without a leveler of some sort and I have used Bogens version of this leveler you spend forever and a day extending or shortening a leg to level the tipod.The quickest leveler type is a "Ball" leveling head. Bogan offers this type of leveling in their cine/video lines of support systems. These are too costly and overkill for still photography puposes. Bogan does offer another "Ball leveler" opiton the model number escapes me but it looks like a pistol grip with the ball on the bottom. I've leveled my tripod in two seconds verses the other leveler that you adjust the thumb screws on. Kaidan also offers two other tripod options: the Bogan 3405B and the Vanguard that if they ship as pictured, ship with tilt pan heads already attached. This not necessary if you are buying the pano head and leveling system mentioned above. As far as how the Kaidan pano head works see earlier discussions under Maureens equipment thread. There Jimbo states that the Kiwi head was "touchy". I asked him what he meant by that and so far to date no response. He then stated he baught the iPix bracket. That is a subject that I can't go to becouse it is not allowed to be disscussed in these forums. Bottom line: buy a set of sticks(just about any brand some heavier duty then others) separately without tilt/pan head already attached, buy a leveler and buy a pano head. If you are going to do regular photography and need a Pan/ Tilt head then buy all means get the legs and head together. Just make sure it is removalable to be replaced with your pano head system. If you replace the exhisting head with your pano rig you'll be sure not to have the pan handle appear at the bottom of any of you shots, to be painstakingly painted out later!
All the best of luck! Jack LoPinto