So you hear names like Manfrotto and Really Right Stuff being thrown around in the photography world, but are the name-brand tripods really worth the hype? Do you need to drop a couple thousand on something meant to hold your camera for you? I don't think so.
I own a ZOMEi M8 tripod and it is a dream. Aluminum so it's light, it's also surprisingly durable, it has a ball head with a built-in bubble level, a lateral column, and one leg detaches to become a monopod. And it cost me all of around $130. I've talked to some friends of mine who have Manfrottos or other more popular tripods and they always remark how mine is just as stable and nifty if not more than theirs at less than half the cost usually.
I had another ZOMEi travel tripod prior to this that I had for years and it was a difficult tripod to damage, trust me. I ended up selling it to a friend because I wanted a tripod with a lateral column for product photography and my film scanning process. Other than the lateral column, all of the features I listed above are basically standard for all of their products. ZOMEi is not an American company and most see it as a cheap foreign brand that makes cheap stuff that'll do the job but probably only once. However, that is the furthest from the truth as this tripod is just as good quality as some of the most expensive tripods out there.
But I'm not just here to talk about one of my favorite pieces of equipment's features, I'm also here to tell you that buying name-brand accessories is not always the best choice. I've used third-party batteries, lenses, and other accessories and have never had a negative experience with them (because I take care of my stuff) but also because they're just not as crappy as people believe. My Sigma lenses are considered third-party but they are just as sharp and actually much more practical than Canon's L-series lenses if you ask me. The Canon 24-70 2.8 doesn't even have stabilization and the Sigma has damn good stabilization.
My point is that cheaper can be better in most situations. They may not be as flashy or cool as name-brand accessories, but they will do the job and in the end that is what matters most. Ensuring that you can finish a shoot successfully is the most important task for any working photographer. And if a working photographer is using third-party stuff, then the enthusiasts will be more than happy with the same.