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Built in flash not working

edited February 2017 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
When trying to take a photo in auto mode or the scene modes where flash is needed, I press the shutter release button half way, my built in flash will pop up. However, when I press the shutter release button all the way down, the camera will not take a photo. The flash also does not flash. The indicators in the viewfinder show that the subject is in focus. I do NOT see the flash ready indicator displayed. My battery is fully charged.

When I use the M, A, S, P mode and try to use the flash, it also does not work. I push the flash button to manually pop up the built in flash, but when I try to take a photo, the camera will not take a photo and the flash will not flash.

I have no problems taking photos using the no flash auto mode.

Is this a problem with my flash or something with my settings? I tried to reset the camera to factory settings (both shooting menu and set up menu), but this did not correct the problem. I have had this camera for four years and I don't remember when this problem started since I don't usually use the flash. Thanks for any help!


  • edited February 2017
    It sounds rather like a flash problem. If you're not seeing the flash ready indicator that's pretty surely an indication that the flash is not charging. About the only thing I can think of that might be otherwise would be if the battery is defective, and not really putting out enough voltage to charge the flash. That seems unlikely.

    In the rear display, the flash icon is grayed out when it's down, yellow when it's charging, and normal when it's ready. If it shows yellow, then I'd assume it's not finishing charging, and if it's grayed out, I'm guessing it's not even trying to activate.

    I've had a couple of non-repeatable incidents where my D3200 acted similarly, and simply refused to shoot with flash up at night, but it did it only a few times, randomly, and I never could narrow it down. It usually works fine, and I never figured out whether the problem is mechanical or electronic, or what. I suspect that there are contacts that operate when the flash opens, and perhaps one of these has gone wrong.

    Just for completeness, I'd try wiggling the flash, moving it up and down, etc. to see if there's an issue with intermittent contacts, but it sounds more like time to get it fixed. If you aren't willing to do that after four years, you might be able to find a cheap deal on a hot shoe flash. Old fashioned ones with "auto" function will work well with your camera in manual mode - the flash has its own exposure meter that controls duration. You usually have a dial on the flash that gives you an aperture setting for various ISO's. Set the shutter speed at anything below the sync speed of 1/250, set the aperture as the flash suggests, and you'll be surprised how good the results can be. You can also use a fully manual flash, but it's a little less simple to set up just right. Many flashes that are TTL dedicated to some other camera can still work well in non TTL mode. A likely exception is some Minolta flashes that send an odd signal to the shutter control and don't work with Nikons. Many others do, though.
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