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Get a Grip – by Jeff Guyer
I recently saw a post about using zip ties as a makeshift wrench for removing filters from lenses and from each other (for those of you who stack them). Even the author recognized the dangers of the method when he pointed out that if not done properly the filter(s) in question could accidentally fly across the room like Japanese throwing stars (my analogy, not his). Obviously, any method that puts your lenses, filters, pets, windows, kids, or the coffee maker in harm’s way if not done precisely right should have you asking, “Isn’t there a better way?”
Funny you should ask. The main thing to remember when removing stuck filters is that they can be bent or damaged pretty easily if you don’t apply even pressure around the ring. That’s why you don’t want to grip it like you’re opening a jar of pickles. Instead, use that rubber thing that you DO use for opening the pickle jar, but start by laying it on a flat, firm surface. Holding the lens as shown, place the filter ring against the rubber, push down, and turn. You shouldn’t have to press that hard– the firm surface below the rubber mat helps apply even pressure from both directions, removing any chance of bending or otherwise damaging the filter ring. If this problem presents itself in the field while out on assignment, you can achieve the same result using the bottom of a rubber-soled shoe.
I know, I know– “What about Variable ND filters?” Since these filters are adjustable via a freely turning outer ring, this method isn’t a good idea. You would be putting pressure on the part of the filter that is not actually stuck. For this dilemma your best bet is going to be wrapping a rubber band around the threaded ring so you can actually get a grip on the filter. As mentioned, though, be careful of applying uneven pressure– good filters and lenses are not cheap. You don’t want to find yourself having to replace or repair either of them.
I hope this is usefull ,
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