Keeping your hands warm and dry while having complete control of your camera is essential during the cold winter months. Michael Topham goes in search of the best pair of gloves for photographers

Best gloves for photographers: The North Face Etip Gloves

  • Price: £35
  • Website: www.thenorthface.co.uk
  • Available sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Available Colours: Black, Black/Silver, Black/Blue, Black/Yellow
  • Pockets: No
  • Finger openings: No
  • Double layered: No
  • Touchscreen compatible: Yes

These gloves from The North Face are thinner and lighter in design to some of the other options that we’ve gathered in this roundup. Though they wouldn’t be our first choice for an expedition to the Antarctic or locations where you could find yourself shooting in sub zero temperatures, their stretch-to-fit fleece material ensures they fit the hand well while allowing unrestricted finger movement.

Choose the right size from the five different sizes available (XS, S, M, L, XL) and you’ll find dexterity isn’t too dissimilar to when you operate the camera barehanded. The good thing about this is that they allow you to control buttons, dials and switches across a camera body and lens with little fuss, including small buttons and ports that can be hard to press or access with thicker gloves.

They’re named Etip gloves for good reason. The conductive tips on each finger let you operate a touchscreen, be it on your camera or mobile device, without having to remove them. I did find however that I occasionally selected the wrong setting from the camera’s menu or typed incorrect letters when writing messages and emails on my smartphone so you do need to take a bit more care than usual.

In terms of grip, the dimpled silicone that spreads across the thumb, index finger and middle finger prevents the camera slipping in your grasp and I took precise control of the focus and zoom rings on my lens with no problem. Heading out and using the gloves on a bitterly cold day highlighted their biggest weakness though, which is that they’re not particularly warm.

If you’re going to be working in mild, spring-like temperatures and want good dexterity they’ll probably be adequate, but for demanding outdoor photographers, for whom warmth is hugely important, you’d be better off putting your money towards a thicker pair that offer superior insulation.

Rating: 3/5


Best gloves for photographers: Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Sporting Gloves

  • Price: £55
  • Website: www.sealskinz.com
  • Available sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Available Colours: Black/Olive Green
  • Pockets: No
  • Finger openings: Yes
  • Double layered: No
  • Touchscreen compatible: No

Sealskinz offer 23 different kinds of all weather gloves in their range, but it’s their waterproof all weather sporting glove we’re taking a closer look at in this roundup. Designed to offer precise control with a balance of warmth and breathability, these gloves are considerably thicker than The North Face Etip gloves, but not as big as those made by Nikon or The Heat Company.

Available in an attractive olive green and black colour in five different sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL), they feature an extremely soft goat suede palm and elasticated wrist strap that fastens by Velcro. The three layer construction and pre curved fingers provide a warm, comforting place for your hands and from the moment you slip them on you sense they’re well made and should create a strong barrier against challenging weather.

There are no irritating seams on the inside of the gloves, but the fingers are quite chunky. This prevented me being able to open compartments such as the battery door or ports at the side of my camera without flipping back the thumb and index finger openings. These play a crucial role in precise camera operation and accurate touchscreen control. They do feature magnets to keep them held back, but they aren’t very strong and have a tendency to release when you clench your fist.

The idea of thumb and finger openings is that they allow the tip of your finger to poke through the glove, but I found the index finger opening exposes too much of your finger to the cold. Outdoor testing revealed they provide excellent grip when they’re wet, and with the finger openings shut, they did a fine job of protecting my hands against bitter wind chill.

Buyers should note that the gloves come up a bit small so you’ll definitely want to measure your hands and refer to the online size guide before purchasing.

Rating: 4/5


Best gloves for photographers: Nikon Photographers Gloves

  • Price: £70
  • Website: www.store.nikon.co.uk
  • Available sizes: M, L
  • Available Colours: Black
  • Pockets: No
  • Finger openings: Yes
  • Double layered: Yes
  • Touchscreen compatible: Yes

If you’re a diehard Nikon user and you’d like your gloves to match the make of your camera, these double-layered gloves that can be purchased via the Nikon store might be of interest.

Available in two sizes (medium or large), they differ to others in this roundup in the way they feature separate inner and outer gloves. Designed to be worn together, I found they provide excellent warmth and a high level of protection against frostbite in extremely cold environments.

The inner gloves, which can be worn on their own when the extra thickness of the outer glove isn’t required, are made from a stretch fabric that hugs your hands. This allows full movement of your fingers and thumbs and there’s a conductive material on the thumb and index finger to enable touchscreens to be operated. The tips of the thumb and index finger are quite long and pointy though, which doesn’t help dexterity. As a result, users shouldn’t expect touchscreen control to be as accurate when they’re worn as when they’re not.

The good thing about the design is that when the inner gloves are paired with the outer gloves and your thumb and index finger are poked through the finger openings, no skin is exposed to the elements. That being said, it lacks magnets to hold the finger flaps back.

The outer glove extends a long way past your wrist and a drawstring is used to pull it tight around your forearm. The way the index finger is separate from other fingers on the outer glove does look a bit peculiar, but this allows you to trigger the shutter easily enough without having to reveal the inner glove through the finger opening.

Though not perfect, these double-layered gloves offer the grip that’s needed to keep your camera secure in the wet, while keeping your hands protected from the coldest of winter weather.

Rating: 3.5/5


Best gloves for photographers: Vallerret Markhof Pro 2.0 Photography Glove

  • Price: £65
  • Website: www.photographygloves.com
  • Available sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Available Colours: Black, Black/Grey
  • Pockets: Yes
  • Finger openings: Yes
  • Double layered: No
  • Touchscreen compatible: No

If you haven’t heard of Vallerret before, they’re a Norwegian company specialising in the design and manufacture of premium gloves for photographers. Vallerret’s first photography gloves were launched off the back of a kickstarter campaign in 2015 and since then they’ve created a range of gloves to cater for all photographers needs. As well as thin gloves for mild winter weather, the produce thicker gloves for much colder winter temperatures.

The Markhof Pro 2.0 gloves we’re looking at are intended for everyday-use in mid winter and feature a pre-curved design and 100% merino wool liner with thinsulate insulation and weather-proofed fabrics. These high performance materials contribute to a very warm and comfortable feel as soon as they’re worn.

Intended to fit your hand snuggly, there’s the option of choosing from six sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL) and two colour variations – an all black version or grey and black like the pair we were sent. With a jersey cuff, they can be slipped on and off in a matter of seconds, and to ensure your camera never feels like its going to slip from your hands, they offer a quite excellent non-slip grip that stretches right across the palm and fingers.

There’s more too. You get finger openings on the thumb and index finger that allows you to poke just the right amount of your fingers through to take control of the buttons and dials on your camera or use a touchscreen precisely. The finger flaps fold back and secure by magnets and there are even pockets on the back of the gloves, which can be used to slide in a hand warmer, spare memory card or lens cloth. Vallerret even includes a handy tripod key.

If you’re after a pair of warm gloves that are effective at keep the cold out and have been thoughtfully designed with photography in mind, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better example.

Rating: 5/5


Best gloves for photographers: MacWet Climatec Sports Gloves

  • Price: £33
  • Website: www.macwet.com
  • Available sizes: 14 sizes available from 6cm to 12cm
  • Available Colours: Black, Brown, Green, Navy
  • Pockets: No
  • Finger openings: No
  • Double layered: No
  • Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Although these MacWet sports gloves aren’t as thick as some of the other pairs in this test and wouldn’t be our first choice for shooting in the extreme cold, they do perform well in milder climates, or when you might come up against rough or wet conditions.

The Aquatec fabric they’re made from is purposely designed to encourage efficient exchange of air through the material and drive moisture away from the hand to ensure maximum grip is attained at all times. Compared to MacWet’s Micromesh gloves that are intended for warmer days, these Climatec gloves are fleece lined, water resistant and windproof. You can choose from a short cuff that finishes at the wrist or long cuff that extends a little further.

MacWet offer as many as 14 sizes, but helpfully there’s a clear sizing guide on the website that instructs you to measure across the palm of your hand just below the fingers to establish your required size. If you’d prefer a different colour they’re also available in brown, green and navy.

As you’d expect from a glove that’s designed to be tight fitting, the level of dexterity is very high. I experienced no difficulty pressing small buttons or accessing ports at the side of the camera, however I did find them to be a bit hit and miss when it came to navigating my camera’s touchscreen. The same could be said when I attempted answering a few emails on my smartphone out in the field, which frustratingly led to quite a few typing errors.

The best thing about these MacWet gloves is the grip they provide when your hands get wet. Even after getting drenched outdoors it never at any point felt like my camera was going to slip from my hand. They’re quick to dry in the wind and being as thin and as light as they are means they take up barely any space in your pocket or bag.

Rating: 4/5


Best gloves for photographers: The Heat Company Heat 3 Smart

  • Price: £118
  • Website: www.theheatcompany.com
  • Available sizes: 8 sizes available from 6cm to 13cm
  • Available Colours: Black, Beige, Brown, Grey, Green, Tarmac
  • Pockets: Yes
  • Finger openings: Yes
  • Double layered: Yes
  • Touchscreen compatible: Yes

If you know you’re going to be photographing in ferociously cold temperatures, opting for a thick mitten glove that provides a high level of comfort and warmth is one of your best options. These Heat 3 Smart gloves are similar to Nikon’s gloves in that they feature two layers for maximum insulation.

The integrated liner that’s stitched inside the mitten is extremely soft and as you slide your hand into the glove your fingers naturally slip into their respective finger sections. When you want to operate your camera, it’s a case of unzipping the mitten and flipping it back to reveal your fingers, which remain protected against the elements by the integrated liner. A strong magnet helps keep the mitten flap folded back and the same is said for the thumb finger opening, which has its own flap to lock it shut and prevent any cold creeping in.

The dexterity of the inner liner is hard to fault and with conductive silver tips on the thumb, index and middle fingers you can take control of touchscreens. I rarely selected the wrong menu setting on my camera, but did find myself being slightly more watchful when typing messages on my smartphone.

The goat leather material that’s used on the palm of the mitten is extremely durable and a leather balm is supplied to guard the leather against wetness and keep it soft. Another nice touch are the supplied hand warmers. These were slipped into the soft-lined pockets on the back of the gloves to keep my fingers toasty during testing.

Drawstrings to secure the gloves around your wrists and a useful catch strap that can prevent you accidentally dropping the gloves complete the flawless design.

If you after one of the warmest pair of gloves you can buy for the coldest of outdoor photography expeditions, look no further. They’re quite brilliant.

Rating: 5/5


Best gloves for photographers: What to look for

  • Size: Always measure your hands in accordance with the company’s size chart before purchasing
  • Grip: Look for a glove that offers a non-slip grip to ensure a safe and secure handling of your camera
  • Finger openings: These let you poke the tips of your fingers through for improved operation and touchscreen control
  • Magnets: Some gloves feature magnets to hold the finger openings back when they’re in use
  • Dexterity: Gloves with a high dexterity allow you to work precisely and accurately with excellent control
  • Extra features: Some gloves offer a handy storage pocket to tuck away a hand warmer, spare SD card or lens cloth