Yes this is a solution only if you take outdoor pano not when you need a tripod
I use a Manfrotto 055XPROB (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B000...ef=oss_product)
What tripod is better (in your mind)
experiment on your own. This means, take shots around at 0°. Stitch. And have a look. Using PTGui I use "create Panorama" set to .mov file. You will be able to have a look with Quick time Player 7. I like this for quick view to the pano.
This will give you an impression about the "holes" in zenith and nadir.
Take a set of all + and - settings of the combo, mingle around with stitching, and try to find out what set fills the zenith or the nadir at its best. + settings might fill the zenith. D3 with shaved 10.5 at 0° does not need a zenith shot for example.
Then fill the nadir by either handheld shot, viewpoint correction shot or use a horizontal arm. Think you using R1.
Dare to experiment on your own. You won't be send to prison if something goes wrong :wink:
Important is that you try to understand the basics. If you do not know to give right commands to a horse and you think this is a bad horse I and you should buy a new one to be excellent, you will stay with your own faults and pay a lot of money for nothing.
First get the footprint of the manfrotto, try to cover with nadir shots. This tripod worked fine for me for a long time. Just test around, and when you have problems, ask us and send pics.