Ok so let me start off by saying this, a tripod is THE most important tool to film making besides the camera itself. With a shitty tripod you will get extremely frustrated (resulting in the urge to hurt kittens, babies, ect.)
I made the mistake of "cheaping" out on my tripod last year. I purchased the Davis and Stanford FM18 "Fluid" head tripod from B&H.
This tripod appears to be an amazing deal. WRONG. One of the handles came snapped off where it attatches to the head. Within 2 weeks of using it one of the leg clips broke while filming a handrail. Lastly THE HEAD HAS COME LOOSE AND WOBBLES. This makes the tripod unusable. Maybe I got a defective model, but I'll see after I make my warrently claim (it comes with a 10 year warrenty.
So onto my questions.
I'm now in the market for a new tripod.
I need something far better.
My budget is still pretty low (around 300ish?). I wish I had more to work with.
So far I see only a few options.
Bogen 501HDV with legs. ($280)
Honestly though....how much better would the 501 really be?
or SOMEHOW find enough money to get:
Bogone 503HDV with legs.
Libec LS22 Tripod System.