Matt Laur , Dec 11, 2009; 04:33 p.m.
I just bought a folding unit from Buff. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, the ease of use, and the effectiveness of the optional grid. I don't see the strut shadow issue as an issue at all.
I also have one of his older non-folding units. I like the folding design better, actually.
These are heavier than umbrellas, of course, so make sure you've got a stable stand, including a sandbag or two if you're going high-altitude.