Canon’s Official Solution for Stuck Lens Filters: Use a Hammer and Hacksaw

When travel photographer Craig Pulsifer accidentally smashed the front of his lens recently and found his lens filter fused firmly to the metal threads, he went to Canon for help. The removal process explained to him by a Canon Professional services technician is probably something most people wouldn’t think to try: use a hammer and hacksaw to surgically remove the stuck filter. Pulsifer followed the advice, and found that it works quite well (though he does warn that it’s “not recommended for the faint of heart”).

The photograph above shows the tools that you’ll need. In addition to the hammer and hacksaw, you shoudl have a bulb blower and pliers on hand.

First, slice into the rim of the stuck filter on all four “sides” using the hacksaw. You should cut the frame down to the glass (being careful not to hit the actual lens itself, of course):

Using a ball-pein hammer, tap the filter’s glass harder and harder until it finally shatters (don’t increase your power too drastically lest you smash your front element as well):

Using your pliers, pull the shattered pieces of glass out of the filter:

Blow off any stray bits of glass and metal from the front of your lens. Using your pliers, bend and peel the edges of your filter’s rim toward the center of the lens in order to pull pressure away from the inner threads:

After some wiggling, the stuck filter (or the remaining frame) can be pulled off of the lens threads:

Blow off all the remaining debris from your lens, give it a thorough cleaning, and then add a new filter if desired:

There you have it: Canon’s official process for removing stubborn lens filters that just won’t come off your lens.

How to fix a stuck filter [Craig Pulsifer Roadnotes via Fstoppers]

Image credits: Photographs by Craig Pulsifer and used with permission

  • Bryan Salva

    I’ve proved this theory wrong… I purchased a B+W filter solely to protect my front element. I try to take immaculate care of my lenses, especially when they’re $2,500.

    One slip on a trail made of solid ice trying to get that great shot and my lens cap shattered my filter. I tried everything to get it off. I was getting ready to use a Dremmel but worried it would grab then throw the cutting tool into my front element. lucky for me I had one more look on Google, the hacksaw was considerably more stable.

    The only bit I would add, is instead of pliers I used the vertical edge of a vice. Much less risk of slipping and damaging your front element.

  • ohdear

    in a party I dropped my flash and trying to catch that( I reached with the hand with camera) My camera lens also hit the floor and when I saw shattered glass I was disappointed ,but it was just the uv filter. I wanted to claim my insurance but with the bended uv filter I was not sure they accept it. Thankfully I see this tutorial now. The shattered glass went inside the lens and the warranty covers dust so…. yeah

  • ohdear

    well the uv filter was stuck to my lens

  • sarchi

    Ca m’est arrivé, et j’ai réussi en suivant ce tuto.
    Pour enlever l’anneau métallique après avoir retiré la vitre, c’est un peu difficile, mais faut insister, j’avais un peu peur que la pince parte d’un coup et vienne rayer la lentille, j’ai mis un peu de sopalin au cas ou et à force, yes, j’ai réussi

  • David Worthington

    a spring loaded center punch used in metal woring would also be a better choice.

  • Gabriel Constantin

    Put a hood on it ;)

  • Aaron Frey

    Same here. Camera store employee as well. We do this all the time. Punch the glass to shatter it. carefully remove with needle nose pliars, cut filter ring, bend inwards and off. Happy customers, and haven’t screwed one up yet. It is a little nerve wracking the couple times you do it though.

  • Nabeel H.Jee

    just tried removing my tiffen filter from my sigma lens using this method.. worked like a charm!

  • Grayson Hoffman

    I figured out how to remove the filter without breaking or damaging the
    lens- visit my blog for the full article