Camera settings change between shots on manual

edited October 2015 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
I have had my D5100 for about three years, but never really delved into using it to its full extent. I have tried using manual mode, and have set the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speeds on it to what I want, but I have barely used it because my settings would change on their own after taking a picture. I was under the impression that manual means I set the settings and the camera doesn't touch them.

I have found it very frustrating. Why is the camera doing this, and how do I stop it? I want my settings to stay until I change them. :)


  • edited October 2015
    There are two times I know of in which settings will change. The first is if Auto ISO is on. In this case, the ISO will change if the manual setting disagrees with the meter. If you want to override what the meter wants, you must disable auto ISO.

    The second is if you are using a variable aperture zoom lens, or changing lenses. The setting can only go to an aperture that the lens can support, and will change if the aperture you have set is not available to the lens, or to the state of the lens.
  • edited October 2015
    I had the ISO set to a certain value the other night, and the stings kept changing. I am just using the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera since I bought it as a kit. It's the shutter speed that will change as well. That should not depend on the lens since the shutter in in the camera body.
  • edited October 2015
    No, the shutter speed should not change in manual mode. With Auto ISO off, nothing should change. I would go back, make sure auto ISO is off, make sure the mode dial is set firmly at M, and then make a few purposely far off photos to check the operation. Set the aperture at about f/8, which is available at all zoom settings. Just fire off a couple of shots in the living room, one at a silly slow shutter speed and one at a silly fast shutter speed, and check the EXIF info. It does not matter if the shots are blown or black, in fact the worse they are the better for the test, since the point is that the camera should never second-guess manual settings.

    The speeds you set should stay set even when you turn the camera off and then on again. In fact, any speed that has been manually set should remain manually set even if you change modes. Whatever settings you choose in M mode will stay set unless you change them manually in another mode. If you reset the aperture in A mode, it will stay changed for both A and M, and if you reset the speed in S mode, it will stay changed for S and M. But the dynamic variations the camera makes will not alter the manual settings in modes that use manual settings. If you make a manual setting, and then switch to auto or another mode, the camera will use its own settings for everything, but when you return to manual mode, the settings should be as you made them.
  • Thanks for the info. I will run your test this evening and report back.
  • edited October 2015
    So I just did the test. Auto ISO Sensitivity is off, ISO is set to 400, and the f-stop is at 8. The shutter speed keeps changing. I took a picture with a 1 second shutter speed, and once the camera was done its thing, it changed it to 15 seconds. After taking a picture with that, it changed it to four seconds. I shot at 1/250, and it changed it to 1/1000. The shutter speed changes on every shot. I tried with the lens at 18mm, 35mm, and 55mm.

    It makes me miss the film camera where everything was set with a dial and there was no way for the camera to changes things on you.
  • edited October 2015
    There is something seriously amiss here. If you have the camera set at M mode, it should hold your shutter speed and aperture no matter what. It sounds as if it is operating at aperture priority instead. Assuming it's not set at A mode, I would suspect there's a problem with the camera itself.

    With the auto ISO off, in M mode, you should be able to set any aperture and any shutter speed and shoot it even with the lens cap on, and get a black picture with the chosen settings showing in the preview EXIF file.
  • edited October 2015
    I have an email into Nikon about this, as well as on, since all they talk about are Nikon cameras. I will let you know if the specific cause is identified or if a fix is found.
  • edited October 2015
    Nikon recommended resetting the camera, which I did, and it seems to be working correctly now.

    So you kids out there, if your shutter speed is changing on its own in Manual Mode, reset the camera by holding the Menu and "I" buttons down at the same time for at least two seconds while the camera is on. The display should flash on and off.

    The two buttons have green dots beside them.
  • edited October 2015
    Thanks for the tip. I have no idea what possible setting might have been made that would result in your problem, but I'm glad it was resettable.

    Different Nikons have different reset procedures.

    Here's Nikon's list:

    By the way, the D7100, not on the list, is the same as the D7000.
  • You can check bracketing settings also. If you have set it on, it will take a few shots with different exposure.
  • Hi guys. I came across this forum following the same experience with my D5300.

    The problem arose out of the blue following normal, correct operation.

    Specifically, although the camera would allow me to select all my chosen parameters, it would randomly change the shutter speed when I operated the 'live view' lever attached to the mode dial.

    After confirming that all settings were definitely correct, and performing a reset, I was at a loss.

    In frustration, I took hold of the mode dial and vigorously (but not roughly) twiddled it back and forth a few times between settings.

    Remarkably, the problem corrected itself and hasn't recurred.

    The obvious conclusion in my case then has to be a minor connection fault in the dial.

    This might just be coincidence and I know it sounds rather crude but if anyone else find themselves in this situation with no sign of a conclusion, it might be worth a try.
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