Gadget Watch: Photography Lens Filter Wrench

Posted on 2 Sep ’08 by Earl Moore

200809021029.jpg If you’ve tried to remove a filter from a lens only to find it “stuck” then you know the beauty of these little gadgets.

In addition, some filters are very thin in design…great from the photographic perspective but with large fingers removing them can be difficult.

These filter wrenches put the “squeeze” on both problems.

You use these wrenches by holding onto your lens with one and grabbing the filter with the other to provide the grip and leverage to loosen the filter. I’ve seen filter wrenches in at least three different sizes; 46-58mm, 62-77mm and 62-82mm. They are very affordable at less the five dollars per pack (two wrenches).

Of course if you don’t have one of these wrenches you might try one of the methods below to loosen a stuck filter, at your own risk:

  • use a couple of large rubber bands or a couple of no-slip carpet backing strips in place of the filter wrenches to give yourself additional grip;
  • you can also press the filter down lightly against a “clean” rubber pad or shoe sole (make sure the glass of the filter doesn’t make contact) and turn gently; or
  • try a change of temperature by placing the offending lens/filter in a cooler location. It may loosen as the metal contracts.

If all else fails take you stuck filter into a trusted camera repair store.

Disclaimer: The sole purpose this posts is to highlight unusual or handy photography and computer related gadgets or gear. It in no way endorses mentioned products and I have no ties with any mentioned company.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Charles 2 Sep ’08 at 5:02 pm

    The cooling idea is the best one. Metal and glass shrinks when cooled. But if you cool the whole lens and filter rig, it all shrinks. So I’d suggest some controlled blasts of cold liquid, like what comes out when you hold your compressed air cans upside down. Carefully targeted squirts of the cold liquid can chill the filter ring more than the lens, shrinking the filter away from the lens threads.

  2. Earl Moore 2 Sep ’08 at 5:12 pm

    @Charles: Thanks, that’s a good tip about using the compress air cans upside down…carefully…to chill the filter.

  3. Paul 3 Sep ’08 at 9:26 am

    One thing that has worked for me when the wrenches failed was to place a few drops of WD-40 at the small gap between the filter and the lens threads and let them sit for a few hours, then they come apart pretty easily. It take s a little while for the stuff to wick into the threads. It’s best to spray the WD on a q-tip and then place the drops carefully.

  4. Earl 3 Sep ’08 at 9:54 am

    @Paul: Hey, thanks for the tip. WD-40 can work wonders but the key is to be very cautious with the amount used. You certainly don’t want to get WD-40 on the glass of your filter or lens. I normally try to avoid using any type of oil unless it’s a last resort.

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