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"Subject To Dark" Message

edited November 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I am outside taking pictures in aperture priority mode with the lens wide open, and getting the "subject too dark" message. Should I flip up the flash? What will that do (I am taking landscapes)? Or is my only other option to up the asa and accept grainy pictures?
Thank You,


  • edited November 2015
    Flash will not do very well for landscapes.

    The dark message is very conservative, and among other things it makes no allowance for VR. How slowly you can shoot varies with the shooter, but you might find that at wider angles, you can get down below 1/10 if you're careful.

    Check what actual shutter speed the camera has chosen, and if it's something you can hand hold reliably, ignore the message. For landscapes, your best bet is a tripod, of course, which also allows you to stop down the lens, but when that is not possible, you can usually hold steadily, use more support, or use other tricks.
  • edited November 2015
    Thank you for that helpful info. I am using the Nikon 18-105mm lens. Now I know everyone is different, but what would you say was a safe shutter speed to use handheld with the VR lens?
  • edited November 2015
    There's a rule of thumb for non VR lenses (not precise, but a good starting point) that for hand holding the shutter speed should be the reciprocal of the lens's effective (35mm) focal length. So, for example, on a DX body with its crop factor, that lens would range from 1/30 at the short end to about 1/160 on the long. VRI is supposedly good for three stops or so, so figure to take the initial shutter speed reading, and halve it three times. That would give you 1/160 > 1/80 > 1/40 > 1/20 at the long end, and 1/30 > 1/15 > 1/8 > 1/4 at the short. That's pushing your luck pretty far, and the chances are that you'll miss a fair percentage of shots at the lowest speeds, but there's at least a chance you'll get a few, and a very good chance if you go two stops down instead of three. Your mileage will vary depending a bit on how steady you are. You're almost certain to do better with viewfinder than Live View, and practice, breath control, etc. can help. Some people find that if they put the camera on multiple shot mode, and take a string of two or more, the second shot will be sharper than the first.

    I suggest you experiment (digital's freedom to shoot and erase is so nice here). You can do it indoors. Put the camera on auto ISO and Shutter priority, and aim at something electronic that has tiny LED pilot lights, such as a TV or computer monitor. Now try hand holding shots at varying shutter speeds, aiming and focusing straight at one of those little lights. The exact exposure is not important as long as the light shows on the image. If you magnify the image, you will see any camera jiggle immediately as elongation or odd shape in the light. If the light is round, you win. If it's even a little oval, your camera moved. Steadiness is harder when you're close than when you're far, and much harder with a long lens than a short. If you can get a nice round light across the living room, you have a speed at which you can hand hold at any landscape distance.
  • edited November 2015
    Thank you very much for that very useful information. I shall start experimenting right away. I will get to grips with this camera in the end.
    Thank you.
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