Sun 10-Jun-12 04:49 AM | edited Sun 10-Jun-12 05:02 AM by jacsr
As Neil mentioned, the height with all legs retracted may be an important difference if you sit on the ground to shoot. In this scenario the three section tripod will be taller than the four. Other than this difference IMO both tripods would be similar in performance.
The new V2 systematic now has a triangular top plate with a release button. My 5542LS has this feature and I find it quite secure. IMO there is no need for the NS plate on the V2.
Carbon Fiber is durable and is used on a lot of items that require light weight and durability. My nephew has a racing bike that is primarily CF. I have a few scratches on both my 3 and 5 series but nothing major. I have never seen this but I would guess that if you accidentally slammed the trunk lid on a CF leg it would not endure the contact as well as an alloy.