Three high-purity Nb single crystals with different orientations are deformed by equal-channel angular pressing (ECAP) at room temperature for one pass. The microstructures of two different cross-sections are systematically characterized by means of electron backscatter diffraction on various length scales. The completely different microstructural features of the three single crystals provide clear experimental evidence that crystallographic orientation has a strong influence on orientation splitting and on microstructural heterogeneity. Lattice rotation is analyzed by comparing the crystal orientation before and after ECAP. The orientation evolution reveals that the
three crystals tend to align in such a way that the primary slip plane and the primary slip direction overlap with the simple shear plane and direction, respectively. An in-depth analysis of the large misorientation bands is given in a companion paper.