A few factors play into the overall stability of a tripod. When I used view cameras, a center column was not missed - rise and fall made the necessary adjustments. Now that DSLR's are in the offing, a center column will be useful. The quality of the tripod has a marked impact on the stability of the camera. As I said in a previous post in this thread, I use a 5541 CF tripod which has worked well. I have a 20lb sandbag that I hang from the hook when needed (wind, raised center column, etc.). There is no reason to avoid the use of a convenient center column, just make the necessary accommodations to insure stability.