I also have a 055x series Manfrotto. It's nice but a lot bigger and heavier than the Feisol. They're the same size when opened up though. The aluminum versions are about half the price of the Feisol. Regarding center columns, it's my opinion that they're a useless feature that reduces stability and adds weight. I have also heard good things about 3 Legged Thing, but I have no personal experience.