Canon's Terrifying Recommended Way to Remove a Stuck Filter

Canon's Terrifying Recommended Way to Remove a Stuck Filter

Ever have a filter get stuck on the front of your lens? I personally have not, but I can imagine how irritating it can be. Travel photographer (and friend of mine) Craig Pulsifer posted the method he was instructed to use by Canon Professional Services to his blog. His warning: this is not for the faint of heart.

1. Use hacksaw to cut rim of the filter down to the glass.

2. Use Ballpein hammer to strike filter glass in progressively hard taps until filter glass breaks.

3. Pick out shattered glass of filter.

4. Blow off glass/metal bits, then using pliers, bend/peel edges of filter rim into the centre of the filter to pull pressure off of inner threads of lens.

5. Using pliers, bend/peel edges of filter rim into the centre of the filter to pull pressure off of inner threads of lens.

6. Again, blow off glass/metal bits, and replace with new filter.

7. Praise God that it worked!


How have you gotten a stuck filter off the front of your lens? Have you tried this method before? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jonathan Kyrein's picture

i found that just flipping a mouse pad over and then pushing the lens down on the rubber textured bottom and twisting the lens works just fine. 

I thought you just freeze the lens so the metal contracts and then it comes off with a little kitchen spray and some elbow grease? No?

I once worked in a camera shop and we would do this every once in a while. My preferred method is putting the whole system into a freezer to contract the ring. Good filters use a Brass ring and lens don't (for the most part) so they contract at differing rates when cooled. I found that this method work about 9 out of 10 times. Plus I never has the worry of damaging the front element.   

Lolo (punto) es's picture

My 70-200 saw the images and now is sobbing at the oposite side of the room. Hope he can sleep tonight :-)

James Reyes's picture

I had a filter that would no come out with filter wrenches or other methods.  Somebody recommended pushing a the sole of a formal shoe agains the filter and twisting the lens.  It works like magic.  I recommend this measure before going to that extreme.

Finally something that worked!!! Can also recommend Clark's desert boots with their rubber soles. Thanks!

Nick Sporek's picture

Get a kung fu grip, its more practical ;^)

Better method. Tighten a jubilee clip round the filter and tap lightly against the screw tightening fixing.

No saw needed.

I had one that I could not remove I tried evey thing I was told and googled with it not budging a bit, i even covered it with ice to try and shrink it no luck then walking past the canning isle i saw these large red plastic covered tongs about a foot long.  I bought 2 and took them home the tongs almost made contact with the whole outside of the 86MM filter and it was off in a flash.

Pretty sure a rubber band placed around the filter will accomplish the same thing... its like opening a stuck jar lid....

Juraj Lacko's picture

I have used freezer blocks to remove stuck filter in the past. I have placed frozen freezer block against the stuck filter with the plastic bag in between.  Filter has shrunk in cold and then it was easy to unscrew it by hand. NO damage to either. Also the muuse pad works well too. Save your filters!

Radovan Rasho Pavlic's picture

I had a stuck CPL on lens while away in Cambodia (so I can assume no servicing available), I did a few things and eventually, before buying rubber gloves (which increases the grip of your hands significantly), I got it off using the rubber band of my Crocs. I simply wrapped it around it and twisted, came right off..filter saved, zero cost. Using a hacksaw on a screw that has lost the screwdriver grooves is standard practice, so I don't see issues with this procedure. I only thought that he will cut just a millimeter or two and than use the hacksaw to rotate the filter, as some people already suggested...

my front filter got a knock and it was totally stuck. I took a pair of pliers and pulled it out. second time it happened i could not get it off. i used one of those "oil filter" keys with the strap-band and unscrewed it as i had a lever... no broken glass. super effective.


Just get a brass B+W filter and your filter won't get stuck. If for some reason it does get stuck most likely its your lens thats warped and your lens will need to be sawed in half to get your filter off instead.

got a b+w filter off... wouldnt recommend trying this. it took me a wrench to force the filter off.
p.s. it also broke the hacksaw that I used...

I don't understand why people go to such extremes.  You can use thick yellow rubber kitchen gloves to remove stuck filters.  Unreal that Canon would instruct people to do this...

Just saw this post on facebook. I dropped a 24-70 a couple years ago and the UV filter glass broke (I got to skip steps 2 & 3 - yay!), but the frame was bent and I tried everything and couldn't remove it - until now! The filter saved a $1200 lens from being damaged, but I will continue to go filter-less from now on except for using an ND once in a while.

Kim G. Brown's picture

I didn't realize it was April First already...

Brock's picture

I dropped a 24mm TS-E with a CP-L mounted. The hood shattered and the CP-L was cracked, bent and crazed. Used a similar method to the above except I used side cutters to cut the filter ring, not a hacksaw

Benjamin Mikhaiel's picture

My brother dropped his 85 at a wedding once, and the filter got stuck cause it was bent out of shape, used pretty much the same method, if we had forced it to turn it would have screwed the lens over pretty badly..

Christian Blencke's picture

off to get a hacksaw, i want to get a lens off my filter 

So god works at Canon repair services? Talk about a bad economy!

Céline Antoinette Broussard's picture

thats terrifying D:

Keith Hammond's picture

rub a pencil over the threads of the filter before putting it on your lens and don't over tighten it, the graphite should stop the threads from locking up, it has on far :-)

if going to anywhere really cold turn the filter back from tight a couple of mm, then when you get back it wont be stuck

Brandon Rooney's picture

better still, just use a piece of sandpaper as grip, place the front/filter end on it and twist. works a treat! 

not in a million years for me, I work too hard for my money

Ha, my secret is out. I've been using Canon equipment since 1970 and had have numerous filters stuck on because a variety of reasons. In 1971, a  Canon factory repairmam showed this this trick and I have used it till this day.

Jeff Greene's picture

Some well placed C4 charges will do the trick too.  Doesn't mean you SHOULD though.  Geezus....

 I followed the instructions on this video, once the glass was oof, the filter screwed off rather easily and I did not have to use plyers...

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