Removing a stuck lens filter

So, on the first day of our Italian adventure, my Wifey picks up my camera bag and accidently drops my SLR with new lens attached onto the floor – lens first!! Aargghh!!!

I picked it up, turned it around to look at the lens and saw cracked glass.  It was devastating 😦 😦  Now, I do use filters on all my lenses, and this is one thing I can recommend to all.  A filter is basically another piece of glass that screws/mounts onto the front of a lens.  There are ones that change the image either by colour or amount of light coming through, etc.  But the most useful purpose I’ve found is to protect the actual lens itself – it’s much cheaper to replace than to buy a new lens.

So I tried to look through the cracks to see if the actual lens was damaged, but I couldn’t tell.  I tried to unscrew the filter, but it seemed quite stuck.  Eventually got out the pocket knife and proceeded to remove the broken glass of the filter by leveraging it off into the hotel bin (I wonder what the cleaners thought!).

It seemed that the actual lens was not cracked.  Whether it was warped or not, I couldn’t tell.  Once all the filter glass was out, I tried again to unscrew the filter but I still couldn’t.  I think it might have jumped a thread, or warped or something in the impact.

Anyways, lens back on the camera and it worked!  The picture looked fine and I used it for the rest of the trip.

Now I’m back in Perth, I googled how to remove the filter.  I’ve read some suggestions from using a rubber shoe sole, to rubber gloves, to using pliers to peel it off like a sardine container or buying a filter wrench.  The first 2 suggestions didn’t work and I was not going to try to peel the metal filter off with pliers so close the actual lens of the camera, so it was off to a camera repair shop.

It seems the official Nikon repairers in Perth are Hartland Camera Repairs in Brisbane Street, Perth.  Literally 1 minute later, the filter was off and for free too!  Excellent!  It made my day 🙂  I’ll have to get my gear serviced there one day.

So now to buy another 77mm filter…

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7 thoughts on “Removing a stuck lens filter”

  1. Glad to hear the front element didn’t crack. I guess I wasn’t as lucky as you are with my Tamron lens. Shattered my Hoya filter WITH my front element once…. bummer.

  2. Yeah I was lucky – plus it was my most expensive lens to date – the Nikon 17-55 2.8. I think I still will need to get the lens re-calibrated just in case.

  3. I can’t believe the first google result I found was my exact same issue… except I’m the one who dropped my own camera. It appears it’s the filter only (am I being too hopeful?) but I can’t get the filter off. So I googled… after reading this, I might as well save myself some time and frustration and take it to the shop…

  4. Yep – I thought it’d be better to get someone who’s done it many times before instead of me trying to work it out for the first time. I didn’t actually see them do it, but I’m guessing it’s either a filter wrench or some special pliers that can just peel it away. Good luck!

  5. I just broke a filter on my lens (after dropping my camera). I got the filter ring and broken glass off, but there’s still tiny glass “dust” on my lens. I’m afraid to wipe it off (with my camera cloth) in case the glass might scratch the lens. How did you clean off your actual lens? Thank you!

  6. Amoore – hmmm. I think I first tried to blow the dust off, either with your mouth, or a lens cleaning tool. I have the Giotto Rocket Air Blower and it’s great for cleaning lenses and the CCD.

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