So I have a Manfrotto 055xprob, and its a great unit but the folded length and weight is a pain. I want a carbon fibre tripod but not sure if I should just buy the 055cxpro4 (same tripod but CF) or if there is something a better bang for the buck. Want to stay under $400, as tall as possible (im 6'4") and as light as possible and folds up as small as possible. Heaviest load on it would be a 100-400 canon lens with a 5dMK3 body. What would be the best value you guys think? I also want to use the 498rc2 head I already have so the mount would have to work on it..
I recommend that you consider the Feisol 3442 CF leg set. These legs fold small and extend rather high. I am 6 ft 1 and use it without a center column. I am not familiar with the 498cr2 head and whether it will manage the 100-400; the legs will be fine. With my 100-400 wind is a problem; you need a heavy head and solid head, something inconsistent with light weight.
You're going to hear a lot of stuff about "Cheap chinese knockoffs" on this forum. I'm played with one several times at two of my local camera shops (real ones where the place smells like canvas and chemicals and the staff doesn't spend a lot of money on shaving cream), and found it to be a pretty solid piece of kit. The staff at both shops was pretty enthusiastic about it. The Canon 100-400 isn't so insanely large that it should challenge that tripod, though I'd guess The Gitzo/Markins base/RRS head combo would be better.
As for the head, I'm not a fan of ANY of Manfrottos heads. Their ergonomics are pretty poor, and their plate system is worse. I'd see if you can pick up a used RRS head or one of the more affordable Sunwayfoto heads.
bh is out and amazon can't ship it to canada (gotta love it because there is an amazon.ca) lol. Looks good, but I am intrigued by the 2.3lb weight of the feisol now. It also seems the same 388-399 everywhere, no deals to be had eh>?