How to Remove a Stuck Lens Filter
If the worst has happened and you have a filter on your lens that refuses to budge you have several methods for removal. Start at the top of the page and work down until the filter is removed.
The Dry Method
- Remove lens from camera.
- Using a lens removing filter (B&H has them for sale) twist slowly but firmly. make sure you are going the correct way.
- If you are slipping, try some tape on the filter to give it more grip.
Set of 2 Filter Wrenches for 67mm to 77mm Diameter Filter Removal
The Grip Method (1)
- On a flat table, attach a rubber strap wrench to the filter, Your hand should be holding onto the lens from below.
- Apply pressure and twist slowly.
- 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)
- Using a bench mounted clamp and round shim piece hold the filter face down. The filter should be very secure.
- By hand, twist the lens the correct way.
- 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.
- Take the lens off the camera.
- Tape up the body with masking tape. This stops dust getting in.
- Tap at the edges of the glass (not the centre) until broken. Using a glass cutter first to score the edges helps this.
- Remove glass by pulling the parts outwards.
- Pack the exposed glass lens with cotton pads or balls. Anything soft will do. You are wanting to stop metal filing getting in.
- 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.
- Using clamps, twist the filter until it pops out.
- 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.
Broken filter is removed. by Peter Hardy on flickr (licensed CC-BY)
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.
Next time, make sure not to overtighten your filter! Of course, if your lens was dropped it most likely did a good job of protecting it from damage.