I just purchased an Hoya PL-CIR filter off craiglists (I'm starting photography and it was cheap) and it looks like there is some dust/dirt between the two lenses.

Is there a way to safely disassemble it so I can clean in between ?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ That must be how the dirt got there. Dirt inside a filter is inexcusable if it came that way from the factory. However, I thought the various layers were well bonded together. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 2, 2013 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I contacted the original seller and he told me it got dirt because some "cleaning product" got in there when he was cleaning it. It looks like it is a little foggy inside, pictures are little more blurry with the filter on... \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 0:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I presume you mean there is grit between the polarizer and quarter-wave plate. They cannot be bonded because they have to rotate with respect to each other. I had one get like that after a sand storm and it was so wrecked anyway that I bought a new one. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Jul 3, 2013 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does it show up on the captured image? I know it sucks to have dirty equipment, but a lot of this dirt actually won't degrade image quality. So in the worst case you can leave it this way. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 8:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The softness of your image is mainly because of filter itself. You can take a picture of white homogenous wall and look for some blobs caused by dirt obstacles. If you find nothing but the overall softness, the filter itself is of lower quality. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


Short answer: No.

Long answer: If you had the time, equipment, and experience; yes. You could disassemble the layers and rebond them with some varying degree of success.

What you see might not even be dust/dirt. Layers of the filter material may have become de-laminated due to the bond between the layers becoming dissolved by the "cleaning" solution. A thin air layer between the plates may be the problem. It would not appear so transparent without the optical cement bonding the layers.

Moral: don't soak/dip/immerse lenses or filters in solutions. Use cleaning materials approved for photographic optics in accordance with the instructions. sparingly

Joke: Safe way: Use heavy gloves so you won't hurt yourself if the filter breaks.

Quote: "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low cost has been forgotten."


Define "safely".
I'm sure it's possible without hurting yourself or others, which is how I'd define "safely".
It's also possible to do without damaging the parts of the filter, possibly, depending on filter construction and the tools at your disposal.
Whether you can then put those pieces back together and get a working filter again, that's a different question and again depends on your tools, working environment, and highly depends on your skill.

In general though, if you have to ask the question the answer is generally a resounding NO.


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