If he's a "quality freak", I'd suggest just buying the legs and this is the set I suggest: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5 ... arbon.html
It's strong enough for any lens and still weighs just a little over 4 lbs. It can be set to a max height of 6 1/2 feet without a center post and a minimum height of less than 4 inches.
A problem with a lot of tripods is the max height is less than 5 feet and even then you have to use a center post to reach that height. This one will be rock solid and should last a lifetime.
A lot of photographers are particular about the type of heads they prefer so I'd let him pick out his own.