Help! Stuck Filter...

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Vincent Peri, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I feel it's too risky to break the filter glass...
  2. Don't break the filter - but the idea of cutting a notch (actually two at 180 degrees apart) is not a bad one. Just use a hacksaw and simultaneously cut two notches into the filter ring at opposite sites of the filter across its diameter. Then insert the hacksaw blade (or something similar) into both notches and twist the filter ring off.

    EDIT: a file might also do the trick cutting the notches. Or a Dremel.

    The main question though is: why take the filter off in the first place?
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Was thinking along the same lines - the back a strong knife blade would work well.
    Dieter Schaefer likes this.
  4. The issue being that the force needed to free it up, even with notches cut, might cause too much strain on the lens body and put something out of kilter - unless the front part of the lens barrel can be gripped somehow, without causing scratching.

    Actually I've deliberately broken the glass on stuck filters a number of times without damaging the lens. But as I said, only as a last resort.
  5. Off topic - I once sold nice a tripod to a fellow course member. The column was in two parts which screwed together, so that it could be used at low level with one section removed. Well, the two sections seemed completely seized together and would not come apart despite all my efforts, using heat, cold, penetrating oil and as much force as I could muster.

    The course member knew this and bought it anyway. As soon as he got it he lightly twisted the two sections and it came apart in a trice.
  6. AFAIK, the 50/1.4 AiS has a non-rotating filter ring - which I take to indicate that any force applied to it just goes to the lens casing and not anything inside the lens. A rotating filter ring, by contrast, to me indicates that force applied to it could transfer directly to the focusing helicoid. Also fairly certain that not much force will be required to separate the filter from the lens anyhow. Putting pressure on the the filter ring from the outside (like with a filter wrench or any other means) usually deforms the ring slightly and prevents the filter from turning. Putting force perpendicular to the ring (like trying to turn it while pressed against a non-skid surface) often does the trick. The last resort is the cutting of notches to insert something to be able to turn the ring without putting pressure on it from the sides. Of course, the option to break the filter remains - as does the option to just leave things alone.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
  7. LOL

    It's been a long day, but that made it better.

    I think, given the plastic, fragile feeling nature of my lens, my filter is staying put!
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I have always (so far) been able to remove a stuck filter, mostly for friends or students - the tapping method, the filter wrench and the elastic bands have usually done the trick.

    As a last resort, on an handful of occasions, I have (carefully) used a lubricant: 3 in One Lock Lubricant (spray).

    Important to use sparingly and to leave for 24 hours for the lube to penetrate the threads.

  9. Don't despair Vincent. It's a UV filter, so what harm is it doing really?
    The L37c is multicoated and won't degrade the image noticeably.

    Also, I bet if you just forget about it and pick up the lens 6 months down the line, the filter will just screw right off with no fuss and laugh in your face.

    You are doing 'Righty-tighty, Lefty-loosey'? I suppose.:)
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
    ajkocu likes this.
  10. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Hmm... you mean filters
    don't just pull straight
  11. I had the exact same problem with an early model 80-200 f/2.8 lens. It didn't bother me much as it had a screw-on lens hood, but I did want the filter off in order to attach a "lens cradle" I had purchased to provide a tripod mount. I tried lens wrenches, rubber thongy, knocking the edge gently, breathing heavily... Not heating or isopropyl, though... nopes, nada. Took it to our friendly city Nikon service center, begged them to take it out of turn, got it back in five minutes with filter off, no charge. Now I have been able to mount the NICAM lens cradle on it... saved the investment!
    I really don't know how they did it... maybe they have a pneumatic device like the tyre changers?
  12. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Sometimes a bigger tool is called for...

    Years ago, I bought a used camera kit, and the Vivitar zoom had a stuck yellow filter on it. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, I took a big rubber band (the kind used for broccoli bondage :p) and put it around the filter. Followed up with a big pair of Channel Lock pliers. No marks, no breakage, plenty of leverage.

    I have used this method a couple of times since with the 'galled' type of seizure. No filter goes on a camera anymore without a bit of graphite on the threads...
  13. I've had success with soft jaw pipe pliers - as I recall, my largest one opens to about 65mm. It takes a careful hand to squeeze just enough to grip without deforming, but it's easier than doing it with your fingers and the soft jaws give you a bit more tolerance before you deform the filter ring. The other tip I find useful is to first put a quick bit of force on the offender in the tightening direction, then quickly reverse yourself and try to remove it. Occasionally, a bit of debris between the threads (or even a tiny, galled piece of the filter ring's metal) will protrude in the wrong direction so it becomes what's in effect a tiny ratchet.

    As for penetrating & freeing oil, I've always used Kroil. One drop applied to the interface with the tip of a toothpick or a tiny dropper / pipette and allowed to work for 12 to 24 hours is usually enough. There's a similar product called FreeAll, which is excellent although not quite as effective as Kroil on heavily rusted car parts. I've only seen it in aerosol cans and you don't want to spray the lens. I've used it on seriously painted and finished cars because it has no silicone in it, and even the tiniest residue of silicone's the kiss of death under a show paint job. Just to get a quick drop, I spray it into a glass and dip the applicator in it. But Kroil's my go-to penetrating oil.

    The best soft jaw pliers I've ever seen are from Garrett Wade. The big ones in the middle of the picture on this page are the ones I prefer. Yes, they do cost $80. But they're great on all kinds of polished fittings that would be damaged by metal jaws. I use them on my espresso machine, chromed plumbing fixtures, etc.
  14. One thing that hasn't yet been suggested is use of a Jubilee clip - or screw on hose-clamp.

    This can be fitted over a cardboard or rubber sleeve (i.e an elastic band) to protect the filter from marking.

    The screw housing then gives a point of leverage for knocking or gripping.

    I seem to remember using this method to release a particularly stubborn filter some years ago.

    Not sure about graphite powder or pencil 'lead' as a preventative. It can still spread about. I prefer candle wax. You only need to rub a candle over the thread, and friction momentarily melts some wax onto the metal. And wax doesn't outgas, run or powder.
  15. On occasion I've used our rubber jar lid opener out of the kitchen drawer. Worked like a charm.

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