Just taken delivery of the 8253. Can't believe how light and compact it is. The 8253 is the perfect height for me - doesn't need extending with an angled scope, I'm 5'10. The footprint is also much smaller than my manfrotto 055XB. I don't think it will quite as stable as my manfrotto, but I've had a play with it in the garden and it is plenty stable enough. Need to take it out into the field soon to find out how it copes in a decent wind.
I think your 8253 will be better suited to my needs regarding height. I am 6 ft 1 and own an angled scope. I've done some measuring and the minimum height for a tripod would be 134cm. I am considering sticking with Manfrotto, which I currently own. It did the job and was solid enough but there have been issues regarding reliability/parts. I might be able to look at an 055CX3 reasonably locally. No one seems to stock Giottos up here.
Perry, many thanks for your post.