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How Do You Fix A Stiff Polarizer?

Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/05/2013 - 7:45 AM

i bought a new polarizer, decided on a marumi. it's coated and works nicely except for 2 things:

1. it's very stiff to rotate. since i have to get my fingers around the hood i can only spin it from the top and it seems very hard to turn.
2. it fused itself to the uv filter and i can't get it off.

for the second part i ordered filter wrenches and that Xume thing. but for now is there a way to adjust a polarizers ring? i don't really want to add oils to it. though partly because i'll never get it off the lens and it will always creep back on. one place said that oil can hurt the coating. another said to use silicone, but again that will get back on the lens again.

any ideas?

and while on the topic, is there a good way to prevent sticking of threads? i'm thinking a bit of candle wax scraped on it. but i'm not sure.


---Mike Savad


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Greg Jackson on 11/05/2013 - 8:01 AM

Mike, just guessing, but it sounds like there might be paint on the threads of the polarizer, gumming-up the works. Was it hard to attach? Hopefully you didn't cross-thread it.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/05/2013 - 8:46 AM

it went on ok, but i think that the inherent nature that i have to turn it, plus it's hard to turn, just really over tightened it. it's also a low profile 5mm thick device, so there is almost no good place to really get a grip on it.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Carol Leigh on 11/05/2013 - 8:54 AM

Mike, there's something called "bar cloth" which may solve your filter removal problem. It's a rubbery sort of material that's used to line drawers or, in bars, to put in the sink so glasses don't break when they're tossed in there. Sold in grocery stores, I believe. Just cut a square off the roll and keep it in your camera bag. Hope this helps . . .

Carol Leigh


Posted by: Andrew Pacheco on 11/05/2013 - 10:14 AM

I use what Carol is talking about for gripping a variety of things. It really helps to get apart a fly rod that you've over zealously jammed the ferules together on. I was thinking of that stuff as I was reading through the thread.

Candle wax may clog the fine threads on the end of the filter and hinder more than help.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 11/05/2013 - 10:36 AM


Put them all into a Ziploc bag and then the freezer for a bit and the see if the contraction loosens the threads. Why did you go with the Marumi?



Posted by: Olivier Le Queinec on 11/05/2013 - 10:52 AM

Ice cubes on a plate with a paper towel on top. Place the inner filter (the one with the male thread screwed inside the other filter) metal mount flat on top of the paper towel. Let it cool off maybe fifteen minutes and try to unscrew it. The reason is that this filter will be colder and shrink faster than the other one and -normally- come off easily. Hope it helps.


Posted by: John Ayo on 11/05/2013 - 11:18 AM

I think cooling would tighten it, unless the filter with the threads on the inside is made of a metal that shrinks more than the outside one.

Probably better to warm it. The gap, such as it is, should expand along with the rings.

EDIT: Just read Olivier's suggestion in detail. That might work. Maybe you could even amplify it with a cold pack on the inner ring and a heat pack on the outer.


Posted by: Lutz Baar on 11/05/2013 - 11:30 AM

Put jet another filter on it and lirk softly to get both off again.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/05/2013 - 11:39 AM

after a day with a hoya moose, i found that because it wasn't coated it was losing a lot of contrast. the coated filters are like a $100 and up and i thought that price was too much. i came across this

by accident. it's coated on both sides, it's thin, and had good reviews. and it does do a good job, provided i can turn the thing, which it's very hard too.

they make another that's sealed better. anyway, while i think i can get them apart, i want to figure out how to make it easier to turn in the field, is there a way to make a polarizer turn easier?

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/05/2013 - 11:40 AM

i would put another filter on, but because it's a polarizer and spins - i would triple my problem.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: John Ayo on 11/05/2013 - 11:43 AM

Any way to weld a little handle to it without ruining it? Or put a rubber-coated hose clamp on it just right? (Do they make them that narrow?)


Posted by: John Ayo on 11/05/2013 - 11:51 AM

Ahah! I wonder if this gadget would help...


Posted by: Jeffery Johnson on 11/05/2013 - 11:54 AM

Okay I have to ask. Why did you place it on a UV filter?


Posted by: John Ayo on 11/05/2013 - 12:01 PM

Then there's this one that screws on. 58mm only, though.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/05/2013 - 12:16 PM

the UV is my main lens protector it stays on there all the time. i may keep the pol on all the time as well, but indoors it has to come off.

welding something to aluminum would be hard, and it's so thin that attaching something else would be impossible. right now i use a lens hood, so the only way to get to the filter is to come in from the front. and it's ever so awkward.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Jeffery Johnson on 11/05/2013 - 12:21 PM

I thought that might be the case but wasn't sure. I usually remove my UV when I am using the polarizer and when not the UV goes back on.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 11/05/2013 - 1:09 PM


Jeff's right, you're not improving the image with the UV and the Polarizer. What ever the UV does, will be more than taken care of by the polarizer. If you're not using ultra wide lenses,there's no need for the "slim" filters, which I hate using,



Posted by: Rich Franco on 11/05/2013 - 2:59 PM


Originally when I first saw this post, I was going to suggest a few glasses of wine......



Posted by: Marlene Burns on 11/05/2013 - 3:02 PM

Haha, Rich...all I kept thinking was how the viagra commercial tells you to call your doctor after 4 hours...


Posted by: Jack Torcello on 11/05/2013 - 3:04 PM

Damp ruins lenses and fittings - mebbe you got things damp (condensation for example). Or another possibility
is you have mussed the threads. Oil and grease are a no-no as you are dealing with lenses - but once you have
them off, I wouldn't go back to them!


Posted by: Arthur Dodd on 11/05/2013 - 3:16 PM

Let's see....stiff a glass with ice, 2 ounces of vodka plus...

Oh, not THAT stiff polarizer.

In the past, when I've had a stuck filter, I've used a wide rubber band around the outside of the filter to get a better grip on it. Sometimes also a gentle use of pump pliers with the rubber band underneath. When done, place rubber band in camera bag for future use. With the polarizer, it's a little tricky because of the rotating ring, but it still works.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/05/2013 - 3:16 PM

it keeps the lens from getting scratched up which works for me fine. years ago i checked to see if there would be a huge difference in quality and there really wasn't. i'm not going to juggle between filters, seems like needless work.

i got the slim because partly, in my price range that's all they had. using a step up and a 77 pol, i had vignetting at 28. with the xume on there i'm hoping i won't get the same.

the filter was new and was attached the day before, it was on for like 8 hours, when i was inside it would not come off. it's pretty well attached. i think i'll try the wax since it should be safe. once off that is. then once the magnetic rings are on, i shouldn't have to worry about it unless those magnets aren't as strong as they say. i paid enough for the filters, so i'm using them.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Mary Bedy on 11/05/2013 - 3:24 PM

I had that problem once, Mike. I think I took the two filters off the camera, stood them upright and very gently put a thin blade knife in the gap between the two filters and torqued it slightly. It loosened the connection between the two filters just enough to allow me to unscrew them. I was careful not to press down on the knife or torque too hard, and neither filter was damaged.


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 11/05/2013 - 3:35 PM

Exactly what is stiff, the threading when you screw on the filter, or the friction when you turn the polarizer. An overtightened connection filter_to_filter or perhaps filter_to_lens?
A mangled thread may not be fixable, and forcing it may damage the matching thread on the front of your lens.
You might want to consider a dry lubricant, such as graphite powder, for the friction when you turn the polarizer orientation. Just clean all excess very thoroughly before mounting the filter.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/05/2013 - 3:44 PM

i think it's just super tight. i can recognize a cross thread. it spun right on. but with the combination of turning the polarizer to use it, and it being stiff i think it's just vastly overtight. normally i would get a BW, but it was too freaking expensive.

i do have a liquid graphite i can apply that with a qtip, but that stuff is so messy. but it is cleaner than oil.

i'm going to wait till i get the wrench before attempting home remedies. i have a small wrench, but couldn't get it to fit, so oh well to that, and its like 6 bucks, so it's a good thing to have. i have to resist the temptation to use a pipe wrench or the like.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Rich Franco on 11/05/2013 - 3:51 PM


I think that's what got Congressman Weiner in trouble.......



Posted by: James Bo Insogna on 11/05/2013 - 3:55 PM

A good rubber band or gum band... that's how I got mine off. I keep one in my bag now. Just put the band arounf the sids and hopefully this will give you a good grip.


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 11/05/2013 - 4:14 PM

I would consider less than 1 drop of penetrating oil, (applied by q-tip) followed by thorough cleaning of the mating threads by q-tip and fingernail cleaner or other volatile oil-based solvent. Since it is filter-to-filter, with no direct capillary connection to the lens, you should be ok. I use a rubber pipe wrench to open jars and such. At low torque, this might be a viable solution. There are also somewhat gummy pads made for opening jars, and others for keeping your cell phone on your dash that would allow you a good grip to do it directly by hand.


Posted by: Jenny Armitage on 11/05/2013 - 8:07 PM

If the threads are plastic, soap may work better than graphite. Just the tiniest bit of soap from a solid bar on a Q-tip. Just enough soap to smell, but not see it on the Q-tip may do it.


Posted by: Jeffery Johnson on 12/01/2013 - 10:07 PM

Did you ever get them unstuck?


Posted by: Mike Savad on 12/01/2013 - 10:22 PM

i had to use the filter wrench, with a rubber band for friction and it took A LOT of force. it was amazing how tight it was. while i blamed the polarizer, i think it was the UV filter, there must have been gunk in the threads and maybe because the aluminum filter on the other side might have been too new and sharp and well it was on there really well. the magnet thing seems to be working.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Jeffery Johnson on 12/01/2013 - 10:43 PM

Oh okay sounds like you had fun getting them unstuck.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 12/01/2013 - 10:51 PM

not so much. the wrench has edges that bite into your hand. i did it on the floor in case i dropped something. it was insanely tight and i hope not to have to do it again. another drawback to having a thin polarizer.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Edward Fielding on 12/01/2013 - 10:51 PM

Don't even think about leaving the polarizing filter on all the time. They are a special purpose thing - for controlling reflections on water, glass, etc. (not metal), or for darkening blue skies against clouds and changing color richness in outdoor scenes. . The polarizing filter will also significantly cut the light available (like a neutral density filter, but differently).


Posted by: Ian Hufton on 12/02/2013 - 5:26 PM

To seperate the 2 filters heat them very gently with a hair dryer. They should then be easy to seperate


Posted by: Mike Savad on 12/02/2013 - 7:14 PM

the pol was on for a landscape thing. but right now it lives there because i have no place to put it. i plan to get a bag of some kind once i have a amazon order put together.

---Mike Savad


This discussion is closed.