This morning I was focused on going over my camera equipment – cleaning, sorting and deciding what I want to bring on my week-long trip to South Carolina. I did have one persistent problem that I was hoping to solve with the help of my husband. Over the summer, I discovered that the UV filter on my zoom lens was stuck. On that particular day, I wanted to change out the UV filter for my polarizing filter since I planned on shooting near the ocean and it was a bright blue, sunny day. I tried to remove it to no avail. My quick solution was to screw the polarizing filter over the UV for the day – not ideal but that’s what I did.
Today, I searched online for advice and tricks of the trade. I found a website that listed 10 potential methods to employ to loosen a lens filter and my husband and I worked through each one. Gently tapping the lens with another object while trying to turn with our fingers did not budge the lens. Placing a rubber band around the perimeter of the filter helps improve the grip on the lens and supposedly works most of the time. Nope! Since it was below freezing temperatures outside this morning, I set the camera out on the front porch in the hopes of contracting the materials enough to loosen the threads. Not a chance! We even tried some really grippy rubber gloves – still no luck.
Another remedy involved screwing on an additional lens filter to the outside of the stuck lens in the hopes of affecting the shape of the filter, thus releasing the threads. I balked at trying this since I did not want to end up with two stuck lenses!! 🙂
There’s a handy tool photographers use called a filter wrench that solves the problem most of the time. Unfortunately, I do not have a lens filter wrench. (But, it’s on my wish list now!) My husband, being the mechanic that he is, suggested trying to use an oil filter wrench. I was skeptical but told him to give it a shot. He has two different size oil filter wrenches – unfortunately one was too small and the other too big!
As we were working down the “top ten fixes” list, we did notice there was a small dimple on the UV lens filter where it had obviously been damaged. I suspect that this is what’s causing the difficulty in removing the lens. This past summer I took a spill while carrying my camera and landed backwards on the rocky Acadian coast. I was unharmed but my camera experienced a slight impact with a big rock. I thought the lens hood took the brunt of the impact – but, who knows….
Turning my attention to removing damaged lens filters, I watched a video where a guy tried to “pry” back the dimple in his lens filter enough to allow it to unthread. My husband ever so gently tried this technique using some pliers to straighten out our “dimple” but it did not loosen the lens filter at all. At this point I was getting desperate and discouraged. We kicked around the idea of using an adjustable-type wrench – very, very carefully – to loosen the filter. His channel locks would not open wide enough nor did he have an adjustable wrench wide enough. His final solution was to use a pipe wrench – and that is what ultimately did the trick!! He taped up the ends so as not to damage the filter and with extreme caution applied a small amount of torque.
I DO NOT recommend anyone else try this method! I’m emphatic about that and I’ve learned a lesson from all of this. I will periodically check my lens filter and make sure it is not tightening up! I will also buy that darned lens filter wrench!! 🙂