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How to remove a stuck Canon 50mm 1.8 lens from your camera

Published December 31st, 2011

So you got your nifty fifty lens and you have been taking some sharp shots for an unbeatable price. Everything is going great until you try to remove the lens from your camera and it won't come off!!!!!

Yes it has happened to you. That $100.00 lens is holding your much more expensive camera hostage. Well you are not the first. I too have had my lens stuck. I did a lot of research when it happened and this is what I found. Some people said to just twist hard and the lens should break and come off. Others said that they twisted hard and the lens came off but it wiped out the camera side of the mount, meaning the electrical connection pins. The local camera repair shop had no idea what I was talking about so I decided to give it a go on my own.

What happens is that there is a snap on plastic dust cover on the mount end of the lens. The dust cover is basically a plastic ring with four fingers that snap into the back of the lens housing. The cover encompasses the inner lens and also surrounds the electrical connections on three sides. Hopefully you are starting to get a picture of the part I am talking about. What happens is that one or more of the fingers that snaps into the back of the lens breaks allowing the dust cover to fall slightly back towards the camera body. When you go to rotate the lens to remove it the lens only rotates maybe one quarter of a turn and will not rotate any more. The plastic dust cover has snagged on the cameras electrical connection.

So here is how I removed my lens without damaging my camera. The actual glass lenses pop out the front of the lens housing pretty easily. If you are able to grab the lens outer housing with your hand and then get a small screwdriver to pry on the focus ring you should be able to remove the lenses. When the lenses pop out they will be attached to the lens housing by a ribbon connection. if you are very careful you may be able to save this ribbon. I was not able to but I think given another chance I could. Now if you get a pair of needle nose pliers you should be able to reach down into the lens housing and grab the dust cover right where it will rotate over the cameras electrical connections as the lens rotates in the direction of removal. If you can pull it away from the camera body as you rotate the lens you should be able to remove the lens with no snags. Most important is to lift the leading edge of the lens dust cover as it rotates over the connections on the camera body. If you want to make it easier to see then just rip the connection ribbon on the lens and set the lens assy. to the side. Make sure your pliers are clean so as to not have dust/dirt fall into your camera body.

There you have it. Make sure it is your $100 lens that is sacrificed. Not the lens and your $600 camera body! Kill your lens and get inside of it so that you can lift the dustcover away from where it is snagging. It is not worth strong arming the lens off and hoping your camera survives when your lens is one fifth or sixth of the cost and is already broken to one extent or another.

I hope this helps someone in the future. I will try to get some pictures up. feel free to hit me up if you need them and they are not up yet,

Good luck


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Andrew MacLeod  almost 2 years ago

Thanks for the tip! I had the same issue tonight, your walkthrough worked like a charm and I was able to pop open the lens, pop back the dust guard, and get the lens off. Cheers!

Kentoucky Windage  about 2 years ago

Fucking Christmas, it happen to me either, ... happier that I am not alone :))))) but I just wondering, why just not take it to the professional - still 100 bucks lens can be worth it.

Sérgio Herculano  over 2 years ago

I had the same problem with my 50mm lens, how canon release something in the marketing with this problem, I cannot save the lens but no damage in the câmera. Thanks

Charly B  over 2 years ago

Thanks a lot Dave. I managed to do it following your instructions. I did not manage to save the lens but I'm SO happy I could do it in 20 minutes and save the cost of the repair. Greetings from Sweden

Michael Bishara  almost 3 years ago

Hi could you put pictures up please? I'm having the same problem with the 50mm

Thiago Formentini  almost 3 years ago

Logged in to say many thanks! It saved me money and time! Greetings from Brazil!

Pieter Huisman  over 3 years ago

I have a Canon EF 75-300mm stuck in my 500D. I can rotate the lens all the way until the end, but then it won't come off. Any tips?

Rakesh Maharaj  over 3 years ago

Thanks I bought my mine nifty fifty used so I don't know what type of abuse it have received

Rakesh Maharaj  over 3 years ago

Can I prevent this from happening by glueing the dust cover to the lens

David Epperly  over 3 years ago

You might be able to but I would be very careful what you use. Many glues like superglue give off gases that might ruin the glass in your lens. I would say that removing the dust cover completely might be an option, but I am not sure if it helps block extraneous from reaching the sensor. I bought another nifty fifty and have never had a problem since. I am sure that mine was damaged when falling off the edge of a table. It's just not a very hardy lens.

Lauren Weiss  almost 4 years ago

Saved my 60D! And luckily my birthday is around the corner so perhaps someone will get me a replacement 50mm haha. Thanks so much for sharing!

David Epperly  almost 4 years ago

I am very happy that people have been able to find this info and that it has been useful to them. Thanks for the comments :)

Jessie Bevel  about 4 years ago

Saved my Canon T3i. I'll take the $100 out of my dog since he's the one that knocked the camera off the table. Thank God everything else still works!

Pete Guerra  over 4 years ago

Another camera (7D) saved. Thank you Dave.

ksimp464  over 4 years ago

How do you get the front off?

Nathan Adams  over 4 years ago

Use a flat head screw driver to pry off the focus ring while also pulling it. It takes a little force, but it's not too difficult. The entire lens assembly and the circuit board will come with it leaving only the plastic outer barrel and a thin ribbon cable tethering the two parts together. I doubt you'll be able to save the lens, the ribbon is extremely fragile.

Ron Elent  over 4 years ago

hi srry i didnt quite get the part where you have to take the lense off from thefront :/

Andy Ensslin  over 4 years ago

Can you post other photos? I'm not sure about the good way to start resolving this problem. I have the same issue : 400D + 50mm stucked in.

Lee Clemmer  over 5 years ago

Thanks! I feel like I owe you a check. My 1 year old pulled the camera off the table on onto the lens (nifty fifty) after which the front of came off and it was stuck. Was feeling pretty blue and not feeling like sending it in, waiting for weeks, and paying out the a$$. But your tip worked and I was able to get it off, so thanks!

David Epperly  over 5 years ago

You are very welcome Lee. I am very happy that this has been able to help some people out.

Cristian TATOIU  over 5 years ago

Hello David! I've been through all the hassle of creating an account just to say Thank you! You just spared me 200 bucks! The nifty fifty is no more but I got my 400D body back and it's all thanks to you and your post. Kind regards!

David Epperly  over 5 years ago

Thanks Cristian! I appreciate the kind words.

Nathan Garan  almost 6 years ago

Hello David, I encountered the same problem too! Please can you tell me if i can detach the lens tryng to remove the plastic where is the button of AF-MF and following the intructiion the pdf? There is other way not to open the lens to remove it form the camera body, I have a canon 60d. thanks for you reply

yw wong  almost 6 years ago

i encountered the same problem last month. I solved. Just apply little force to pull out the lens from the camera after push the lens release button and rotate the lens as usual. The lens can be removed from the camera. My canon 40D is ok but the 50mm lens' plastic dust cover come off.

Keith  almost 6 years ago

Had to do this myself this weekend. I've uploaded my dissassembled lens: .
Thanks to David and this guide I found on Gizmodo: .

David Epperly  almost 6 years ago

Cool! It looks like you might have been able to save the cable on yours? If I had realized what I had to do (pulling the dust cover away from the camera body) when I took my lens apart I think I could have too, but I thought the lens was a goner at that point :) I was just happy I was able to get the lens off without paying labor to the local camera shop. The old lens has made for some good macro experiments. Great pictures Keith!

Phil  about 5 years ago

Thank you for the links Keith.Thank you David for this article! I was able to save my daughters Rebel T3 a trip to Canon for this same service. To top it off this novice was even able to put the lens back together and to my amazement, the lens still takes beautiful photo's!