Filter stucked on the lens

Thai-Mike

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I got my 12-40 and a UV Filter a time ago. Yesterday I bought a polarizer filter and wanted to remove my UV filter. Unfortunate it stucked. I was unable to remove it..

Today I came across this VDO and as happy as one can be, my vacation is saved. It worked so well, I used the handle of a small scissors to bang gently on it.

 
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I've had this happen a few times, especially when stacking a couple of ND filters. Even from the same brand, it seems there's some variability in the materials used, so a temperature change can weld them together (or so it feels). I've had good luck resting the "male"filter on a metal object just out of the freezer for a few seconds, or the "female" filter on something warm and metallic. I would go that route before banging on it. In the case of the video, I have my doubts that tapping it with fingers would make a difference. It's possible that the lens/filter were brought into the same environment and had enough time for the temps to stabilize. What's that saying that medicine is just entertaining the patient long enough for nature to take it's course? That's my theory, anyways...
 
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Some filters will bend and jam when you grip them tightly at opposite edges. Filter wrenches work by applying even pressure, gripping around the circumference of the filter.

A more convenient alternative is the palm of your hand (with rubber glove is even better), flat on the filter at 90 degrees to the lens barrel. Press down and twist.
 

Dinobe

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Apply the tiniest smear of silicon grease to the thread before attaching the lens. A good idea just as general maintenance.
If it does get stuck, a wide elastic rubber band should give you more grip. I believe you could apply such a device for opening jars. But if you are traveling I can image not having one to hand....
 

Paul C

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Oct 29, 2017
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The alternative to grease on your filters --- and soon to be on your lens glass --- try preventing this with a bit of graphite on the threads.

If you don't think you have any at home - go search for a 4B pencil. Not only the perfect lubricant that doesn't "dry out", but it comes in a handy size applicator designed exclusively for camera filters.

Now - why didn't I thnk of marketing that?
 
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Covina, California
they're called filter wrenches just for this sort of problem
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Mike Wingate

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Filter wrenches for me. My polarising filter always gets stuck on the P14-140, but can be removed, other filters are fine on it.
 

retiredfromlife

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I have found that slim filters do this more than the thicker ones as sometimes they do not have enough threads to properly mate with the camera, and possibly cross thread easier.
 
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I have a rare and expensive Olympus 100mm (unique size) skylight filter that is permanently mated to an aluminum Olympus screw-in lens cap.
  • I've tried the tapping bit over and over, with various instruments… no relief.
  • I've tried putting it in the freezer, then carefully heating just the filter (outer threads) with a torch, hoping that differential expansion would help… no luck.
  • I've tried a small bit of penetrating oil… still nothing.
  • I've tried combinations of these three methods, to no avail.
Any other ideas so my 600mm ƒ/6.5 lens front element can have some protection again?
 
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WD40 allowed to soak into the gap between filter and cap. Then wearing rubber gloves, put the filter flat on your palm, put your other palm flat on the top, press together and rotate palms in opposite directions. This works for me when separating seized stacked filters, metal hoods and stepping rings.
 

Reflector

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I have a rare and expensive Olympus 100mm (unique size) skylight filter that is permanently mated to an aluminum Olympus screw-in lens cap.
  • I've tried the tapping bit over and over, with various instruments… no relief.
  • I've tried putting it in the freezer, then carefully heating just the filter (outer threads) with a torch, hoping that differential expansion would help… no luck.
  • I've tried a small bit of penetrating oil… still nothing.
  • I've tried combinations of these three methods, to no avail.
Any other ideas so my 600mm ƒ/6.5 lens front element can have some protection again?
Have you tried laying some rubber/shelf liner onto a table and pressing downwards equally on the outer edge before turning it to unscrew the filter?
 

Reflector

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I even cut arcs in 2x4s, so I could clamp the whole thing in a vice and try to turn it with the length of the 2x4. I'll try it again…
I'd avoid making arcs and try to apply pressure axially as to let the ends of the filter's frame/threads effectively have traction with the wood. Try trimming off a 2x4 then rip off the fillet/round over before gluing them to form a square slab, that or some construction plywood probably works.

My understanding from how filters get stuck and why conventional manners of manipulating them don't work is that when you compress it along the radius you're effectively deforming the relatively slim metallic ring which causes the circle to become a (very slight) oval that pinches on the still circular threads of the lens or other filter. Those specially shaped filter wrenches effectively form most of a fairly circular circle in regards to pressure application and thus prevent excessive deformation that bumps the circle into a slight oval.
 
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