I'm pretty pleased with my Velbon CX 404 - which I snagged from new for 40$ at London Drugs. It can articulate, lock and adjust in all dimensions - handles my camera both vertically and horizontally.
Works like a charm. Have field tested it at night in deep snow on an uneven surface. The only thing I need on it is a leveler - perhaps with a small LED for night time shots. But I can rig that myself after the fact - why pay a 100$/hour Manfrotto guy to do it for me? lol.
When balancing my admittedly limited photography-budget and evaluation price/performance, I really don't want to spend more than absolutely necessary on something like a tripod. I'll darn well make it work for me, rather than forking up big $
On another note: with all the data they put in viewfinders today, I'm surprised I haven't heard of a leveler there yet. Low-tech - should be easy to include.