I wonder again how photographers in the past were able to take amazing shots with crappy cameras and tripods compared to what we have today Imho the photographer makes the photo not the camera...
These comments are so misleading and completely out of context.
First of all, if you didn't think gear made a difference, you wouldn't be on this forum reading about gear and to some extent, gear that doesn't even exist! So if you really believed your statement, you'd be out taking pictures instead of reading a rumours forum.
I love the post about the 10D. If the camera doesn't matter, then everyone would be using a 10D or their iPhones. I watched a lot of Olympics and didn't see one photographer with an iPhone or a Rebel or a 10D. The camera matters and that's a fact, so you're trite remark is misleading to anyone who is doing research on a forum.
Lastly, the comment that a great camera won't help a crappy photographer is also misleading. Assuming, the user knows how to turn on the camera and even use it on auto, even if his composition is poor, a better camera is going to give him a better quality file. That's fact. It might look like crap and it might be poorly exposed, but with a better camera, he's going to have a better file to work with and a better file to pass on to his kids (if he chooses).
I can't believe how many people state that gear doesn't matter. The irony is that many of these people post on gear forums so it's clear they believe gear matters. Either that or they like to waste their time I suppose.
People are allowed to buy whatever they want. If the OP wants to spend a grand on a tripod, he's allowed to and doesn't need anyone to lecture him.
To the OP: I've seen RRS gear used in on the B&H used site. I don't know if it ends up cheaper, but it's worth giving it a look. Also, take a look at the various market sites on message boards. That's if you don't mind buying used.