Winter is here, and cold hands are a photographer's worst enemy. Jon Stapley rounds up the best gloves for operating a camera in chilly conditions
Best gloves for photographers: North Face Etip Gloves
These stretch-to-fit fleece gloves from North Face are named ‘Etip’ for their conductive tips, which allow touchscreens to be used through the gloves. It works almost perfectly, and the thin material of the gloves means your dexterity is almost to the same level as when operating bare-handed. Using a touchscreen to focus or compose a shot is easy, as is operating the dials and buttons on a camera body. There are limits to how responsive it is – you’ll find yourself taking a lot more care than usual when typing on a touchscreen – but for a photographer’s purposes the Etip gloves are excellent.
Silicone patterns on the palm provide extra grip, and there’ll be little or no danger of dropping a camera or phone while wearing these. If you’re heading into absolute biting cold, you may want something with a little more padding to it, but otherwise the North Face Etips fit a great deal into a slim package.
Best gloves for photographers: Matin Photographer’s Multi-Shooting Gloves
The only mitten-style gloves on test, the trick to the Matin Multi-Shooting gloves is that the entire mitten portion folds back, freeing the fingers for operating a camera. The soft polyester fabric makes the gloves comfortable and surprisingly warm given how thin they feel.
A nice touch is that the mitten portions each have a small circle of Velcro on the rear, allowing them to be pinned to the back of the gloves and kept out of the way. Two panels on the palm and thumb sections ensure you can keep a secure grip on the camera or smartphone, and the competitive price makes these a great affordable option. Undoubtedly, the best choice if budget is a real issue.
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Best gloves for photographers: MacWet Short Mesh Gloves
MacWet’s gloves won’t do you much good in extreme cold but lend themselves nicely to photography in rough or wet conditions. Made of a thin polyamide and polyurethane material, operating a camera is easy, whether via button controls or a touchscreen.
The gloves were designed originally as sporting accessories, hence the thin, high-grip material. While most gloves will make the user noticeably clumsier, you’ll be very unlikely to drop anything with these on, making the MacWets good companions if you’re shooting near (or in) a large body of water.
Best gloves for photographers: Stealth Gear Photographer’s Gloves
By far the thickest, bulkiest products on test, these gloves from Stealth Gear are the best choice for the photographer who will be truly going up against the elements. They are waterproofed and weather-insulated, providing real warmth and comfort even in bitter cold, and the silicone-padded palm provides a sturdy grip. All this protection does come at a cost to dexterity, although ‘access ports’ in the thumb and index finger allow the user to operate camera controls or touchscreens. The only real drawback is that the thumb sections feel disproportionately long, which doesn’t help dexterity.
Best gloves for photographers: Under Armour Coldgear Tech Glove
With the ColdGear Tech Gloves, Under Armour seems to be prioritising a streamlined, close fit, with a thin fabric that sits very tightly. Conductive material on the index fingers and thumbs allows for use of touchscreens, and this works very well indeed – operating a phone or camera touchscreen feels effortlessly natural. The silicone grip pattern on the palm side provides a secure hold. The material is very thin, and although the gloves are comfortable and well insulated, I would question how well they will hold up to long-term heavy use.
The gloves come in a range of sizes – the medium size we tested was a surprisingly snug fit, so I would recommend possibly choosing a size up from what you’d normally pick.