I am wondering what kind of gloves are practical to operate a camera (a GF3 in my case) in sub-zero temperatures (down to -20°C). Ideally it should be possible to both operate the touchscreen, take off lenses (or at least lens caps) and of course operate the mechanical parts of the camera (dials, shutter activator, etc.).

Anyone got experience with that?

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    All answers provided good insights. But what I ended up using were fingerless gloves like these (but from another company) which I switched with ski gloves. It never got colder than -15°C, but for that temperature it worked well. Very important was that the thumb had a removable hood as well, without it most actions are considerably harder. The touchscreen was the easiest part to operate, even with the mitten on it reacted very well.
    – GaussZ
    Dec 15, 2011 at 13:57

8 Answers 8


I'm involved in a research project on glaciers and as such often have to use a computer in the cold, although thankfully never that cold. One thing I've found works well is wearing thin glove liners under fingerless gloves. This way you can use the equipment fairly easily but if you have a short break you can flip the mitten bit of the fingerless gloves down for added warmth.

The other thing I've found handy is having multiple pairs of gloves. So I have the combination described above but also carry a pair of thick ski gloves, using any equipment is impractical in these, but they are good for when you know you won't need to do anything requiring fine motor control for a while.

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    Same tactic I use in Maine. Lets me keep my hands warm and free up a fingertips for tactile input without exposing skin. Dec 6, 2011 at 15:47

It's hard to beat tactical gloves when it comes to operating a camera in rough weather. Personally, I prefer Hatch Winter Specialist, although they might not be warm enough for -20c. So called "tactical" gloves usually have a smooth, seamless trigger finger (to enhance trigger pull, which works just as well with a camera shutter release) and usually a grip-enhancing inside.

You should have a look around camping/tactical/survivalist stores, explain your requirements to a clerk and try on a couple of gloves in the store to find one that suits your style and grip.


I'm using polartec gloves that are rather thin but wind stopping and pull over some GoreTex gloves that insulate enough to climb Swiss mountains or wander the cold -20°C Jura mountains. That works for me, but I don't have to operate a touch screen.

Another approach that was recommended to me at a mountain expedition store was this one: Roeckl Karun. It's a good combination and should support you using a touch screen.

Disclaimer: I own Roeckl gloves (the thin polartec ones) myself.


I lived in Duluth, MN with an average high in January of -7.8°C for many years. I never used any specialized equipment, but many times found myself sitting at the lakefront for a sunrise shot at 6am or so.

Personally, I've always had great luck with two different brands of gloves - Arc'teryx and Mountain Hardware. They both make excellent cold weather gear, gloves included.

The biggest issue with shooting at temperatures like this is probably going to be your equipment. I had issues with my DSLR mirror getting slow or locking up. I also had issues with the LCD screen becoming very slow or unresponsive. You have to acclimate your equipment for a certain amount of time or risk moisture introduction as well. But if you acclimate it too cold, it will have the issues with the extreme temperature faster. It is a tough trade off.

For example, I shot the following image at 7:04 AM and the temperature was -24°C or -12 °F. The image is of steam coming off the largest fresh water lake in the world. The lake is still warmer than the air temperature even at these temperatures in January. January 13th 2007 - Duluth Harbor Lighthouse

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    Your mirror getting slow can be because your camera is using the wrong lubricant. When I read about this many, many, years ago it was recommended to go to your shop and get the camera services for very low temperature work. This involved changing the lubricant to something containing even less water than normal. Also when going back indoors always keep your cold equipment in a sealed plastic bag to avoid condensation forming on and inside your equipment.
    – bengtb
    Dec 10, 2011 at 19:18

I bought some Windstopper gloves from REI a few years ago. If you get them fitted right, not too loose, they are like wearing nothing at all. They are only good for stopping wind though, -20C will go right through them. A hiker friend of mind reccomended using a Gortex mitten shell over gloves. That's a nice combination.

I was just one the windstopper web site, they now have a bewildering array of products, some look like they could possibly work for you.

But the touch screen? Man, that's possible. I've seen gloves with touch screen finger tips in them. If you can't get nice cold weather gear with touch screen fingers, perhaps get a cheap pair of touch screen gloves and cut out the finger tips and sew them all together with the wind stoppers?

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    Note that the particular camera model (Panasonic GF 3) — and most of the cameras with a touchscreen, anyway — has a resistive touchscreen, not capacitive. In other words that means the screen is pressure sensitive, so using non-conductive gloves wouldn't be an issue. Dec 6, 2011 at 12:04
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    +1 for mittens over gloves. No glove is as warm as a mitten, and you want to be able to give your hands time to recuperate between sessions of activity. (Actual "tactical gloves" -- the things actually used by the militaries who have use for such things, such as the Canadian Forces I once served in, as opposed to the stuff that's sold to SoF wannabees -- are a mitten/glove hybrid.)
    – user2719
    Dec 6, 2011 at 16:25

ThinkGeek sells conductive glove pins which are small devices you affix to the fingers of your gloves that should allow you to operate touch screens without removing the gloves.


I am a winter cyclist as well as a sometimes photographer. Keeping my hands warm while being able to operate a bike has been my obsession and I think the lessons will translate.

I use Outdoor Research Ambit gloves with Touchtec; they let you operate touch screens.

If you get this a size up, like I did, you will find the fingers less agile in the tips, but the touchscreen interaction still works beautifully. It's actually quite amazing.

But these won't be warm enough on their own. Get an extra warm glove liner that also has electrostatic touch with some windproofing. Perhaps something like this:

That way, you can stay warm and handle most operations. But if you need to get intricate, you can pull off the outer glove and still have a warm, touch-enabled glove underneath.


I used to ride a motorcycle and in winter you need both warmth and 'feel'. Try popping in to a local motorcycle shop and trying on a few winter gloves.

Also thin latex gloves can protect you hands for short periods while retaining great control and fitting inside other gloves.

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