I know tripods well. I have some thoughts. First, I think you are underestimating just how important a tripod is. After buying a series of less expensive ones that just didn't do what I want, I finally broke down and bought a Gitzo 1325 and an AcraTech head. Cost me about $700. That was about 10 years ago and the tripod is still going great. It's seen nine different cameras and sets of lenses come & go during that time. A tripod is something to put money into because you keep good ones. You are asking too much for $250. You want it light. You want it tall. You want it stable. What you want is a Gitzo 1325, used. But even used the tripod alone still runs about $400. There's no way you'll even come close to what you want with a new tripod--go with a used one. Don't go cheap on a tripod head either. A cheap one will drive you absolutely insane. Really, about the only thing I'd even suggest for you for $250 would be a used Bogen/Manfrotto 3221 or similar such as 3 series aluminum Gitzo. Solid, cheap, tall, but not light. There is no way you'll get everything you want for under $250 unless you steal one.

Kent in SD