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How to Remove a Stuck Filter from a Lens? Use a Filter Wrench

Updated on April 23, 2014

Until last week, I'd never heard of a lens filter wrench. It was something I never even knew I needed. But now that I've got a pair, my camera bag will never again be without them.

I've been shooting photos since high school and have always protected my lenses with a UV filter. These filters stay on my lens all the time, while other filters (like polarizers or neutral density filters) come on and off as needed. Occasionally over the years I've had filters get stuck, but generally I've been able to get them off with a little extra muscle. But a few weeks ago after a trip to Mexico, I noticed dust under my UV filter and went to remove and clean it. It was stuck. I tried twisting harder. No luck. I asked two other people to try unscrewing it. Still no luck. I got a rubber jar grip out of the kitchen drawer and figured that would do it. Nope. That filter was on there tight, and it wasn't coming off.

Filter Wrench to the Rescue!

Now that I knew what wouldn't work, I needed to figure out what would work. Naturally I went to the Internet and typed in "how to remove a stuck filter from a lens." First, I read about the rubber band method - you put one rubber band around the filter and another around your lens and then twist. The rubber bands (like the rubber jar grip I had tried) can often give you enough extra gripping power to get your lens off. Well, that didn't work for me either. A few other options - such as using pliers or a shoe - didn't sound very wise.

Then I read about filter wrenches. I'd actually never heard of these, and I was a bit skeptical about trying them. Many Amazon reviewers said they worked great, while others said they were too flimsy to do any good. But I was desperate and they were less than $10. I placed my order and waited. Two days later, my filter wrenches arrived. I opened the package, placed them around the stuck filter, and twisted. Nothing happened. I tightened my grip, moved my hands closer to the lens and tried again. This time, miraculously, the filter came undone.

My camera bag will never again be without a pair of filter wrenches. If you've got a stuck filter that won't come off with alternate methods, a filter wrench is definitely worth the money.

Here's another cool trick for removing a stuck filter if you're shooting in the field and don't have any filter wrenches handy.

What method has worked best for you for getting a filter unstuck?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very interesting little gadget that I would have never thought about outside of this lens. Great review!!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Stuck lens filter? Think you wrap in duct tape then pull...HARD! *wink*