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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> How to remove a stuck filter - 3 methods
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04/15/2011 07:20:33 PM · #1
If the worst has happened and you have a filter on your lens that refuses to budge you have several methods for removal. This worked on a Canon f1.2 85mm lens that got stuck last week.

The Grip Method 1

1, On a flat table, attach a rubber strap wrench to the filter, Your hand should be holding onto the lens from below.

2, Apply pressure and twist slowly.

3, If nothing happens, add small drops of Teflon to the seal between the lens and filter. Try not to get any on the rubber strap.

The Grip Method 2

1, Using a bench mounted clamp and round shim piece hold the filter face down. The filter should be very secure.

2, By hand, twist the lens the correct way.

3, If this doesn't work, try using the strap wrench.

Sawing the Filter Off

This is the most time consuming and risky approach. It should only be used when everything else has failed.

1, Take the lens off the camera.

2, Tape up the body with masking tape. This stops dust getting in.

3, Tap at the edges of the glass (not the centre) until broken. Using a glass cutter first to score the edges helps this.

4, Remove glass by pulling the parts outwards.

5, Pack the exposed glass lens with cotton pads or balls. Anything soft will do. You are wanting to stop metal filing getting in.

6, Using a fine, metal hacksaw cut into the filter metal. Make sure you don't cut into the lens! You should aim to make at least 8 evenly spaced cuts. This helps the filter flex and bend.

7, Using clamps, twist the filter until it pops out.

8, Remove all dust using a blower (not compressed air) and remove the tape.

Keep in mind that with some lens the front element will want to unscrew. After you have removed the filter it is worth making sure the lens has not been pushed out of alignment. A proper focus check is worth while.
04/15/2011 07:23:54 PM · #2
Nice post. I hope I never need to use it :)
04/15/2011 10:39:08 PM · #3
I could have used this over the last several weeks. I have been delicately trying to get a UV filter off my 24-70. I finally go a giant pliers and CAREFULLY got it loose !
04/15/2011 10:59:33 PM · #4
I would try one of those semi-sticky rubber pads sold to open recalcitrant food jars. Also chilling a washcloth and applying it to the filter housing may shrink it enough to allow it to turn.
04/15/2011 11:50:44 PM · #5
For future use, and to save your filters and len, go to B&H or Adorama and enter "filter wrench" in the search box. You get two in a set, for less than five bucks. You can also use them to separate two stacked filters that are stuck together. Pick the set that matches your filter size range.
04/16/2011 02:33:34 AM · #6
I will second the filter wrench set. For reasons I don't understand my slim 77mm circular polarizer cements itself on my 70-200 2.8 lens. The first time it was stuck for a month as I tried all sorts of things to get it off. I thought I was out a hundred dollar filter. I bought a filter wrench got the polarizer off in seconds. Now I keep it in my bag because no matter how loose I put it on the 70-200 it still gets stuck.
04/16/2011 08:44:35 AM · #7
You may want to consider putting a little wax (paraffin, candle) or even bar soap on the threads before you screw the filter on. I've even heard from one photographer that he has used the side of his nose when he forget to bring wax. A little lubrication goes a long ways in preventing stuck filters.

Tim

Message edited by author 2011-04-16 08:45:32.
04/16/2011 12:12:14 PM · #8
run it under hot water.
04/16/2011 01:55:35 PM · #9
Originally posted by mike_311:

run it under hot water.


Doesn't usually work for filters. Filters are male threads, and filters expand with heat, so they get tighter. Cold's the ticket, not heat, if temperature differential is an approach you want to try.

R.
04/16/2011 02:30:01 PM · #10
Last time I had a badly stuck filter I was scared I'd damage the lens trying to remove it. I schlepped it to a repair shop and they were kind enough to remove it and not charge me. It sounds like a filter wrench is a must-have addition to my gear.
04/16/2011 02:42:13 PM · #11
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by mike_311:

run it under hot water.


Doesn't usually work for filters. Filters are male threads, and filters expand with heat, so they get tighter. Cold's the ticket, not heat, if temperature differential is an approach you want to try.

R.

Originally posted by GeneralE:

I would try one of those semi-sticky rubber pads sold to open recalcitrant food jars. Also chilling a washcloth and applying it to the filter housing may shrink it enough to allow it to turn.
04/16/2011 03:39:06 PM · #12
Anything that will squeeze filter unevenly will cause it to go just a bit oval, and you'll never twist it off. Filter wrenches can work, and are pretty cheap. Also cheap is a square of that stick shelf/drawer liner material. You place it over the open face of the filter and then apply very gentle pressure evenly with the palm of your hand, as if you are trying to press the filter onto the lens. Then a gentle twisting motion of the hand while maintaining that light pressure. The shelf liner does the gripping and the even pressure, twist does not "oval" the filter.

Thus far (knocks wood) I have not encountered a filter that could not be removed using this method.
10/21/2011 01:52:56 PM · #13
just put a rubber band around the lens and it will twist right off.

This also works for opening up tough jars.
10/21/2011 01:55:09 PM · #14
Did you think to enter this in the "Step-by-Step" challenge?
10/21/2011 01:56:24 PM · #15
Originally posted by Dirt_Diver:

just put a rubber band around the lens and it will twist right off.

This also works for opening up tough jars.

I use the fat rubber bands which come on a bunch of broccoli -- they are strong and feel slightly more "tacky" than most. If necessary, you can put a rubber band on each the lens and filter to get a better grip on each without having to squeeze hard.
10/21/2011 02:22:10 PM · #16
Originally posted by GeneralE:


I use the fat rubber bands which come on a bunch of broccoli -- they are strong and feel slightly more "tacky" than most. If necessary, you can put a rubber band on each the lens and filter to get a better grip on each without having to squeeze hard.


I use whatever I can find really but use them the same way. I've used the elastic band on my underware, my wife's hair band... just whatever I can find to ease it some.
10/21/2011 03:09:22 PM · #17
My polarizing filter gets stuck on my wide angle lens nearly ever time, i use a jar opener gently and so far so good.
10/21/2011 03:42:08 PM · #18
If you have a filter that tends to stick, once you have it off (see above) look at the threads. Do they seem lighter in color that the rest of the filter? If they do, you are seeing wear, scratching, pitting and a breakdown of the once smooth surfaces of the threads. The friction of putting on and taking off the filter has opened the surface of the threads making them more likely to stick and bind. Try some spray on silicone.

Spraying the treads however is not a good idea, unless you are looking to make a softening filter. Spray the liquid silicone into a cup in a well ventilated area far from your expensive glass. Use a folded over pec pad or a Qtip to dab the silicone carefully into the male threads, then screw it onto your lens and back off to get the silicone where it wants to be.Then let the stuff dry. It will fill in the pits and smooth over the ridges in the threads so it will slide on and off more easily.

Message edited by author 2011-10-21 15:54:34.
10/22/2011 01:54:48 PM · #19
Use masking tape. Works great. Go around the edge of the filter with the tape about 2-3 times, without touching the edge of the lens, then twist the filter off as normal. Similar to the rubber band method, but for me the masking tape has worked much better - it gives you good grip.
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