Manfrotto is a company best known for their tripods and other photography accessories. But how many of you also knew that they manufactured apparel? Take for example the Manfrotto Lino Pro Photo Gloves. Though many photographers prefer to buy gloves and cut off the tops of the fingers, these gloves don’t do that. Instead, they embrace covering your entire hand and claim to allow you to still have full versatility.
Do they hold up to the claims?
The gloves are made from a combination of materials: leather, polyester, elastane, and cashmere. The gloves are nice and stretchy to accommodate the twisting and flexing your hand goes through while shooting. The fingertips and palm area is covered with textured leather to aid in gripping your equipment. The grip on the gloves is actually quite effective especially when combining it with the grip on your camera or rubber on a lens. You (probably) won’t drop any of your equipment while using these gloves.
The whole inside is lined with super soft cashmere that is designed to keep your hands warm. Around the wrist is a velcro strap to tighten the gloves down to keep the temperature in and just above that is water-protected zipper compartment to hold a memory card. There’s one of these compartments on each glove.
I tested the gloves on several different outings, including just using them as regular gloves to and from work in the wee hours of the morning. I should probably also let you know that I live around the Seattle area and temperatures around here have been in the 30′s-40′s Fahrenheit range lately. When I stayed out in the cold, my hands stayed nice and toasty but it wasn’t all great (more on that in a minute).
The grip material more than effective. I had complete confidence in it not letting my equipment slip from my hand at any point.
Being able to store two additional memory cards right in the gloves also gave me the freedom from having to get into my photo bag to change cards. This makes it very easy to whip out a new card from the gloves, switch with the one in the camera, put the used one back in the gloves, and continue shooting.
However, I did have a couple of issues with them.
The first is the temperature isolating powers of the gloves. They do a very good job at keeping in whatever temperature you put in them. This is nice in the typical scenarios when you’re shooting in cold situations but I noticed a couple of times, after my body had warmed up, the gloves held in the cold instead of allowing my hands to match my rising body temperature. This made me have to take the gloves off to let my hands start warming up.
Second, the material around the fingertips is thick enough to keep you warm however makes handling small objects or buttons more difficult. Things like opening small pockets, handling zippers, or changing settings on your camera can be more challenging while wearing these gloves. Unfortunately, I feel this is a problem all gloves like this suffer and must be anticipated when making this type of purchase.
And finally, though admittedly a very small issue, I wish they had some of that “e-tip” material to allow you to use a touchscreen phone. It seems like many gloves are incorporating this feature now. With these gloves, you have to completely remove them to do anything on your touchscreen phone.
I’ve owned an older pair of Lowepro Photographer Gloves for several years now which have been my go-to for outdoor, cold weather shooting. The material on the Lowepro ones is much thinner and while they didn’t offer the same amount of protection from the elements as the Manfrotto one’s, they make working with small buttons and settings much easier. They don’t have any cashmere or memory card pockets but they do offer similar grip material. You might be wondering why I’m mentioning so much of the Lowepro gloves in this post about Manfrotto gloves; The Lowepro’s were a fraction of the cost of these gloves for similar abilities.
I’ve owned a couple different pairs of photography specific gloves over the years as I do live in a cold and rainy area and am a “cold wussy” as my wife puts it. The Manfrotto Pro Photo Gloves are by far the best I’ve tried but I’d also expect that from their price. The price alone is going to keep many away and I would beg for Manfrotto to drop them to a more consumer-friendly range. At the current price point, I would hope to have fewer gripes with them than I did. But if you have the money to spend, these will be a safe bet to get you through that next shoot you have in a walk-in freezer.
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