Manfrotto 055C Tripod
This tripod is a fine example of a well-built, sturdy and long lived piece of photography gear. I have owned and still own a number of tripods of varying age and materials, including three modern carbon fibre models and an original 2.5m extended Gitzo Geant; no lightweight but sturdy and built to last.
Quality photographic gear should be looked upon as an investment, not a cost. A decent carbon fibre tripod may initially cost £400 or more, but you know that you have a reliable device that will not let you down at a critical time. And buying from an established manufacturer you will be assured quality support both in practical and customer service terms!
I would recommend the Manfrotto 055 in the current iteration to anyone considering a first tripod. The range is varied with something to suit most photographers and applications.
In the near future I will be leading a workshop on supporting your camera. We will cover a number of techniques and show numerous ways to use your tripod safely and securely steady your camera. Contrary to popular belief tripods are not just for low-light and night-time photography.