Half black photo with Flash in Auto mode Nikon D3100

Discussion in 'Nikon Cameras' started by Kimskams, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. Kimskams

    Kimskams TPF Noob!

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    Dear gurus

    I am suddenly having this problem with my nikon d3100. I took photos last night n those were ok but tonight its taking photos with half top dim( almost black ). Problem occurs only on flash n fotos are fine when taken without flash. Im using auto mode. I found a similar thread on this forum of 2011 but no solution was posted so i thought to ask here myself. Thanks

    PS: i hv tried formatting memory card n restetting shoot options.


     
  2. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Your shutter speed may have been too high for the flash sync speed. You can either lower the shutter speed or turn on Auto FP in your camera. :)
     
  3. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    The TOP of the image is black?

    1. That rules out the shadow of a hood.
    2. Shutter speed too high? Hmmmm. Too high a shutter speed usually turns the bottom of the image black and the second curtain is already on it's way down by the time the first curtain is fully open and triggers the flash.

    Maybe you've got the camera's flash settings set to rear curtain synch and your shutter is too fast.
     
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  4. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    I don't think the d3100 has AutoFP?
    thus the OP should try lowering the shutter speed.
     
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  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    D3100 does not offer FP Synch mode...so...I dunno, the shutter speed is likely exceeding the X-synch's maximum speed setting. The phrase "in auto mode" is interesting...if the flash was properly dedicated to the camera, "auto" mode on the camera would set the synch speed or slower, but if "auto" mode means "AUTO-flash" setting on the flash unit and it's not a properly dedicated unit, the flash would not communicate with the camera and it would be possible to get too fast a shutter speed, and to get the black bar.

    As astroNikon and 480sparky and Vtec44 all have suggested--try lowering the shutter speed. Try ISO 250, Manual metering mode, lens set to f/5.6, flash on AUTO mode, the "wide f/stop setting" if there are two or three color-coded AUTO mode setting values to choose from, shutter speed set to 1/125 second...blast off a few frames, see what gives.

    When troubleshooting things like this, it helps a LOT if you can include the model and brand of the flash, so people can do a quick lookup on-line; today there are like a zillion different made in China flash units; some have TTL mode, some offer TTL mode and also AUTO-flash mode; some are manual flash only, like the lowest priced units.
     
  6. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Another possibility is.......... start cringing now......... a bad shutter.
     
  7. robbins.photo

    robbins.photo Yup, It's The Zoo Guy Supporting Member

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    True, but if it were a bad shutter or possibly the mirror not releasing properly it would show up on all photos, not just the ones taken with a flash, so that should be easy enough to check and hopefully rule out.
     
  8. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm just waiting for this to turn into a 5 page discussion about world peace. :D
     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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  10. WayneF

    WayneF No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A common problem with black banding with flash is when the shutter is too fast for camera sync. The D3100 cannot sync flash faster than a 1/200 shutter speed. What was the shutter speed? (it is reported in the images Exif information).

    Still, there are two problems with thinking this here:
    The camera Auto mode will not allow this problem, if it recognizes the flash is present.
    So which flash? Off camera flash? Triggered how? How could it have fooled Auto mode? (was the shutter speed actually faster than 1/200 second?).
    If it was a TTL flash on the hot shoe,this problem should not have been possible, so something else happened, and we need more detailed information about what actually happened?
    And two, you said at night, so a shutter faster than 1/200 seems very unlikely anyway, not from Auto mode.

    Top and bottom are arbitrary, in different cameras. For example, the D300 and D800 shutters run in opposite direction in regard to top or bottom banding. And of course images are inverted, so we see the opposite of either (D300 top, D800 bottom).
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  11. wfooshee

    wfooshee No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The camera wouldn't necessarily be aware of a 3rd-party flash unit, but still trigger it through the main center pin, the one that's existed since hotshoes were invented.

    Auto mode setting a shutter speed higher than 1/200 in a situation that needs flash sounds a bit goofy, too, unless ISO is simply way too high.... Unless the user is trying to fill flash in a daylight situation, in which case a generic flash is not going to give good results without careful planning and settings, which definitely won't involve auto mode.
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Huh? You lost me with that statement.
    A D800 shutter runs from bottom to top for an exposure? Because a D300 shutter moves from the top to the bottom to make an exposure.
    Does Nikon say that somewhere? I've looked at quite a few web/sites pages (including Nikon) and can't find anything about that.
    Sounds interesting. Weird, but interesting.
    How about some links?

    Gravity aids shutter curtain opening when the camera is held in the landscape/horizontal orientation if the shutter curtains start at the top of the shutter mechanism and move towards the bottom of the camera.
    In vertical orientation the shutter curtains move side to side and the direction would depend on if the shutter button was at the top or bottom.

    Nikon specs for the D300 and D800 say the same thing about the shutter:
    At any rate the OP used a D3100, and a D3100 shutter moves from top to bottom to make an exposure.

    If the top half of the photo made with a D3100 is dim or black, that means the bottom of the image sensor was partially covered by the front shutter curtain.
    That is what would be seen with the camera set to rear curtain flash firing sync with the shutter speed set to faster than 1/200.
    1/200 is the x-sync speed because it is the fastest shutter speed that allows both shutter curtains to be open
    At a sync speed faster than 1/200 the 2 shutter curtains form a variable size slit. The faster the shutter the narrower the slit.
    At 1/250 the slit is way wider than if the shutter speed is set to 1/4000.
     

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