Band contrast (BC) is a qualitative measure of electron back-scattered diffraction (EBSD), which is derived from the intensity of the Kikuchi bands. The BC is dependent upon several factors including scanning electron microscope measurement parameters, EBSD camera setup, and the specimen itself (lattice defect and grain orientation). In this study, the effective factors for BC variations and the feasibility of using BC variations for the quantification of microstructure evolutions have been investigated. In addition, the effects of the lattice defect and the grain orientation on the BC variations are studied. Next, a shear-deformed microstructure of 316L stainless steel, which contains nanosized grains and a large portion of twin boundaries, is revealed by BC map and histogram. Recovery and recrystallization of shear-deformed 316L stainless steel are displayed by BC variations during isothermal annealing at 700 and 800°C, respectively. It is observed that the BC turns bright as the shear-deformed crystal structure is recovered or recrystallized.