Friday, May 29, 2009

How to Remove a Stuck Lens Filter

I committed the ultimate camera enthusiast travesty... I dropped my Canon 40D. Thankfully (if there is such a thing) it landed lens first with a lens cap on and a UV lens filter, which took the brunt of the fall. The body didn't even get scuffed and the lens, so far, seems mechanically fine. The glass in the filter cracked so I had to carefully remove the shards while the camera was upside down so that the lens didn't get scratched. After that I wasn't able to unscrew the filter because it was bent and putting too much of an asymmetrical force on the threads. After some research here are a few suggestions in order from low to high risk (try at your own risk) for removing the lens filter:
  • Using the palm of your hand
  • Using carpet or a rubber mat
  • Using filter wrench
  • Using the rubber sole of your shoe
And finally, when all of those didn't work I used a pair of pliers. To protect the main lens from metal trimmings I cut a circular piece of paper and put it on top of the lens. I then gripped the outer edge of the lens filter with the pliers oriented along the long axis of the lens and then applied pressure moving the handle of the pliers away from the center of the lens. This effectively rotated and peeled off the outer ring (the long twisting piece shown below). After that the flat interior ring came out freely leaving just the threaded portion. This is where you have to be careful. Hopefully there is enough room for you to grip with needle nose, otherwise you need to carefully use a tool (such as a standard screwdriver) to pry the threaded filter portion inwards. Once you are able to fold the filter in on itself it should pop out with very, if any, damage to the lens threads.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chad,
    You got the job done so this is a bit late, but maybe for the next time. I also posted about this on, too bad you didn't see. I asked a friend after trying similar things, and he came with the genius answer to put the lens (in my case two filters) in a sealed bag in the fridge/freezer. The metal shrinks and twists right off. Nice blog!