Black Images with Nikon D3100

Started Jun 3, 2011 | Discussions
txcamerlady New Member • Posts: 3
Black Images with Nikon D3100

I've had my Nikon D3100 since Feb. 2011 and have had really good results with it. I was outside in bright sunlight today taking pictures of our horses and was just snapping away and then the pictures started turning out solid black.. Through the viewfinder as well as looking at the LCD screen on the back. I could focus my subject through the viewfinder but when I took the actual picture there was nothing there.

I have removed the memory card, the batteries, the lens (cleaned the contacts) I'm unsure of why it did this. It has done this on 2 previous ocassions as well. It will be taking great pictures and then just stop. Other times its great and will take pictures forever.

Any ideas. I am a beginner and have purchased several books on this particular camera since it was my first big jump into digital photography, but nothing in the Nikon books talks about black photos.

Thank you

slowhands Veteran Member • Posts: 5,470
Re: Black Images with Nikon D3100

Review your settings... ISO, fStop, Shutter speed, Exposure Compensation.
Certain combinations can give BLACK PICS even on sunny days.

I would have expected accidental adjustment to give over exposed (white), but black is possible too.

If you are CERTAIN your settings should give a good or over exposed image on a bright day...(ISO 400,f8, 1/60, + - 0)

Then investigate mechanical

Maybe a lens is failing...change lenses. Often they stick open and give ove exposure, but a blade could be flopping / loose to fully stop down and cause under exposure(?)

Maybe the mirror isn't flipping to allow exposure on the sensor...? you can see in viewfinder, but image is always black. This is what I suspect most likely

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TAGParrot Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: Black Images with Nikon D3100

What mode are you shooting in? You may have changed your camera settings so that you're simply not allowing enough light to take a photo. The view through the view finder would still look okay. (I don't know about Live View, because I never use it.) If you're shooting in Auto mode and still get black photos, it sounds like a camera malfunction.

OP txcamerlady New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Black Images with Nikon D3100

Thank you both for your input. I'm not sure how I could have accidently adjusted anything. I was taking a shot, turned out great, another shot within seconds, great..a few more seconds another shot and nothing. I am shooting in all auto mode as I am still learning about everything this camera does. I ran into this problem about 3 hours ago, and my camera is still taking 'black' pics, nothing will show through the LCD screen. I've reset all of my settings back to original.


dradam Senior Member • Posts: 2,815
Re: Black Images with Nikon D3100

Lens cap?

Graystar Veteran Member • Posts: 8,373
Re: Black Images with Nikon D3100

Send it back to Nikon. Call them or get on the website to get authorization.


OP txcamerlady New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Black Images with Nikon D3100

Yes the lens cap was off.. as I stated in my original post that I was actively taking pics and then it just happened..Its done this twice since Feb when I received it but hasn't given me a lick of trouble any other time

I took the original Nikkor 18-55mm lens off and tried with my Nikkor 55-300mm zoom as well as my Tamron 90mm Macro and the LCD still won't show an image.

It does show the initial lens pic, with my f stop, everythings on auto.

MusicDoctorDJ Forum Pro • Posts: 12,400
Re: Black Images with Nikon is defective!

I've seen a few D3100's with this problem . . . it is defective and needs to be sent in for warranty repair.

If you bought it from a local camera store, take it there and they will send it in for you.

If you bought it online or from Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Costco, etc, you'll need to contact Nikon directly and arrange for shipping as none of those retailers will deal with this for you.

Even if you bought it from any of those other stores or online, you could still take it to a camera store for service, however they will most likely charge you a small fee (to cover shipping) since you did not purchase it from them.

Also, make sure you have a copy of the original purchase receipt and supply it with the camera or the camera will not be covered under warranty.

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baloo_buc Veteran Member • Posts: 9,069
Re: Black Images with Nikon D3100

Sometimes Nikon D40 did this. It was a glitch of firmware because it was caused by the ISO Auto that writes ISO 100 in EXIF. If you change that ISO value in EXIF of a RAW file the image was fine. Nikon D40 has no ISO 100 (the minimum ISO is ISO 200). It may be the same glitch and you are not shooting RAW so the result is a black JPEG.

What counts against it is the fact that you say the viewfinder is also black when it happens.
Bucuresti, Romania

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Terry Geig
Terry Geig Regular Member • Posts: 391
Try a different menory card?

It could be defective. These are the reasons I only buy cameras from reputable dealers.

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richmorby New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Black Images with Nikon is defective!

Hi. I have the same camera and its a few years old now - sure out of warranty (what is the warranty) is there any way a local camera store might be able to help if this is a hardware issue?

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