In these days I'm accompanying my mother, who has been ill for a somewhat long time and is now slowly recovering, in a few short walks along a path that is at the border between the town and the countryside. I'm trying to kill two birds with a stone also taking some photography opportunities. Landscape isn't an option, because while the hike is agreeable, you see the town in background almost everywhere. Instead, the place is filled with flowers (very common species) and it makes sense I do some exercise with macro. In particular I'm working with the Helios 44-2, which is a recent bought, and extension tubes. I'm doing the thing in a totally relaxed fashion: if I get some keeper, fine, otherwise fine the same; it's not the kind of subject that you won't be able to find again, with which it's a pity to lose an opportunity. For this reason, I'm going ultra-light (also because I have to assist my mother): just the NEX-6 and the Helios mounted. As you can imagine, the critical thing is manual focusing: most of the photos that could be good are ruined by the lack of steadiness: I could have even got the DoF correctly placed, but the minimal motion of the camera when I shoot change things. Also, there's always at least a slight wind, that moves flowers, and I should be able to compose, focus, stay put and wait for a pause of the wind.
So a tripod is advisable, but my carbon-fiber Gitzo is designed for keeping a DSLR + a medium size tele, and it's overkill for the job (that is, it weights too much for the relaxed approach). So I'm searching for a cheap and light replacement just for this kind of situation. It must be tall, as in this case I'm mostly operating standing up - I'm 178cm - and possibly quick to extend and retract.
The problem is that there are so many cheap choices that I'm unable to pick one. I'd like to hear some reputable suggestion here.
PS For the curious ones, I've posted some considerations about the Helios 44-2 and flower macro photography: