Lastolite sent us one of their Brolly Grips to try out. The kit consists of three items: the small carry case, a Brolly Grip, and a 50cm shoot-through umbrella.
The Brolly Grip itself is 20cm high, 4cm across at its widest and comfortable in the hand. Starting at the bottom, there is a mount to allow attachment to a lightstand. In the middle, two holes for putting the shaft of an umbrella through, an 8mm and a 10mm. The top is where the flash mount is located. If you loosen the lock at the back you can twist the mount around to change the position of the flash mounts.
Playing around with the grip, I found that the umbrella naturally likes to point down. This is usually fine but can become a little painful on the wrist depending on the angle that you want the umbrella to be pointed from. If you fully unscrew the mount and then re-attach it the opposite way around then you can change the angle at which the umbrella can be pointed, which can be a little easier on the wrist.
If you are going for the simplest and quickest of photo shoots then this is a good tool to have. Your limitations come down to how ambidextrous you happen to be. If you get yourself a friend/colleague/assistant to be a VAL (voice-activated lightstand) for you, then your limitations are the agility and height of the person. If being ambidextrous or having people to help you out are an issue, you can always mount it to a stand. I do suggest that you could use an additional umbrella mount if you are wanting to change the angle to you suit your photo.
The 50cm umbrella that comes along with it does a good job at diffusing light and with the two sizes of umbrella shaft being catered for, the number of modifiers that can be used in conjunction are almost endless. Again, this is all down to what can be held by you or an assistant.
The Lastolite Brolly grip does make holding light modifiers easier to hold with a flash attached, mean less need for taping lights to shafts for cheapness. When all packed into its holder, is no bigger than a medium sized umbrella in its own shink-wrapped carrying case. As a kit, it lessens the amount that you really need to carry and could make a wonderful starting package for someone wanting to play around more with off camera lighting without having to go to more expense of bigger heavier kit.
The price at posting of this comes in at a not too vast £30. For more information and a list of dealers, visit the Lastolite web site.