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D5100 in very low light

Let me start by saying I'm very new to photography. When I try to shoot at night in manual, my camera will say too dark (don't remember exactly what the message is). Then, without changing any settings I switch to live view and it works! Usually a long exposure and it comes out fine. Any idea why it won't take the picture with the viewfinder? Also, when the shutter is finished, a green light comes on but the camera won't do anything. I have to turn it off then back on again. That's frustrating cause then I have to reset the release mode. Thanks for any help!


  • edited February 2017
    It's probably an AF issue. The camera has "focus priority," which means it will not take a picture if it has not confirmed auto focus. This is modified in some cameras in Live View, and it will fire even if focus does not lock. You can probably switch to manual focus in viewfinder mode and get your shot.

    If your camera is set to "long exposure noise reduction" in the menu, it will take twice as long to make a long exposure, because after the shot, it takes another picture with the shutter closed, and uses that blank picture to subtract noise. It's a nice feature but rarely terribly effective, and annoying if you take multiple shots, because the camera is essentially disabled while this is happening, so you will do better to turn it off.
  • Thanks! I will give it a shot.
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