Thanks guys. Since I was visiting, Manhattan, I had one of the BHPhoto guys talk me into a Sirui T2205x with Benro V0 200598 Ballhead. Seems to fit the bill...
What I like about the 2205 is that it sits already pretty low with the extra low riding accessory center column, but then I can reverse the center column and hang the camera upside down for more options. Also has rubber feet with sliding spikes that move in and out smoothly.
Anyone used these before?
Uh, I guess you missed my above post. They are very well built for the money. My small one is slicker than S___ and very transportable. The larger one I have is also excellent, though if I had to find fault, it would be that the center column slides a little rough, particularly at the joint between the main/4" parts. Not a problem for me since I picked that model so I wouldn't have to raise the column. You might want to consider this ball head instead of the Benro. It's quite good and you can keep it in the family.
Thanks Brad. Is there a specific reason you'd recommend the Sirui ballhead over the Benro? The Beron ball seems very smooth to me...