You can try this link for good tripod info ... that should give you enough data to be able to research the subject without investing too much into something that you later find wont actually suit your needs..
Good luck, I am too also iso a good tripod and am being careful in my purchase as I wish to get one for good all round tripod pics - kinda like all-terain shoes as opposed to running shoes or others specific to a specfic thing..
Here is another article..
This is the best one I have read on the subject for those new to the subject of tripods..
I am also looking for a good tripod and this is what I am looking at getting..
Bogen / Manfrotto 3221WN (055BWB) Wilderness Tripod Legs (Black) with 3265 Ballhead (Quick Release) - Supports 5.50 lb (2.49 kg)B&H# BO3221WN3265 B&H KitPrice: $ 281.95.
Here is the website.
L-Plate - RSS-Plate - Ball head - - Scmallhead:).
Buy the sturdiest thing you can afford and carry, and get a quick release..
TomWho has more experience in astronomy than in photography..
I ordered the RRS plate today..
Looking at the ballheads now..
I tried out a Gitzo G2220 Explorer, it's aluminum and has the offset center column. I think I should have the one in carbon fiber. But that still weighs in at 4 pounds..
Regarding the advice below - think about the maximum weight you will have in the future. I am predicting a max 9 pound load for myself, so this combo is out for me..
And the advice from solar (read: http://bythom.com/support.htm) makes alot of sense. Thanks for it..
Bogen / Manfrotto 3221WN (055BWB) Wilderness Tripod Legs (Black) with3265 Ballhead (Quick Release) - Supports 5.50 lb (2.49 kg)B&H# BO3221WN3265 B&H KitPrice: $ 281.95..