In choosing a tripod I had to limit myself to something around $200. In this range there are few options which are of a large size. I looked into the Velbon range, but I was a bit concerned about the build quality. Teds Camera had a special going on the Slik 500 DX Pro at the time. It's actually huge, stable and perfect, and of course much cheaper than the similar sized Manfrotto 055 series.
When purchasing a tripod, remember its probably worth splashing out a bit, because this is something that can last forever! A good stable tripod will always be useful. The Velbon range was a bit cheaper, but not as stable. The Manfrottos were much more expensive, and smaller and lighter. The 055 is about the same in stability (in my opinion) but I found the Slik to be more stable than the popular Manfrotto 190 series when comparing in the store.