Around these parts, you won't hear anything but Gitzo and Markins. It's probably the biggest reason I will not renew my Silver Membership and never upgraded. I just can't stand the closed minded attitude. Very snobby when it comes to tripods and heads around here.
Anyway, many pros and other talented amatuers actually use products other than Gitzo and Markins with great success. If you are on a budget you might want to look at Induro tripods. As good if not better than the Gitzo and much less costly. As far as tripod heads, check out Sunwayfoto, Photo Clam which is Korean like Markins and which is claimed to be better, Induro makes a pretty decent line of heads, Manfrotto and even Giottos. You can find something very well made and very stable without breaking the bank. Honest.