M, A, S, P modes producing black photos

edited April 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3300 Forum
Hello, I'm a relatively new Nikon D3300 user, and I'm concerned that there is a problem with my camera.

I've been able to shoot in the M, A, S, P Modes (without needing to use flash) for months. However, I recently clicked the flash button, located on the left-hand side of the camera, and then noticed that now I only get black screen photos when shooting in the M, A, S, P modes without a flash!

This may just be a rookie mistake, but I am very confused. I tried turning off flash for each one of the modes, and they all would not allow me to turn the flash off. My options are: Fill flash, Red-eye reduction, and rear curtain sync. I used to be able to just turn flash OFF.
This is highly inconvenient, for I use those modes to take pictures of stars.

Would anybody happen to know of a solution?


  • edited March 2016
    That sounds odd. I wonder if for some reason the flash is not turning off when you close it.

    On the D3200, at least, there is no "off" function in the flash choices. Opening and closing it turn it on and off, and it is always on when open, always off when closed.

    Do you get a visible exposure when you shoot with the flash up?

    When you close the flash, the LCD display should show the flash icon grayed out. You can still use the [i] button to change the flash settings, but once you exit the menu the flash icon should be off until you open the flash. If for some reason it's not going off, then I suspect a malfunction, but perhaps you need to open and close the flash again a couple of times to scare it back into behaving.

    If you go to the playback menu and find the playback display options, you can enable the 'overview' in playback. Now when you open an image you can use the up/down arrows on the camera to get the new screen. On the overview screen will be information on what settings the camera used for the shot. Open one of the dark shots and see what the information says. If it was taken without flash the lighning bolt icon should not be visible. If it is visible, it means the camera at least thought that flash was activated, and adjusted exposure accordingly.

    Edit to add: I took a quick shot of my old Fuji camera, and then turned it around and took a shot of the display with it. The attached file shows the overview.

    On the display you can see a small version of the image, the exposure histogram, and basic data on the exposure, including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, metering pattern, exposure mode, but not auto focus mode and a few other things. Flash icon is on, and the flash compensation noted.

  • edited March 2016
    I really appreciate the reply! I'll go try out your suggestions and hopefully resolve the issue.

    Thank you
  • edited April 2016
    Were you able to resolve this problem, because I am having the same issue with my D3300.
  • edited April 2016
    @autley, do you get any images in any other setting without the flash flashing?

    Here is a first check, to see if the flash is turning off correctly. Put the camera in one of the P, S, A or M modes and leave the lens cap on. I am assuming here that the D3300 is similar to the D3200, though display might be a little different.

    On the LCD display, you should see a message saying "subject is too dark" on the top, and the flash icon on the bottom left should be grayed out. Now pop up the flash. Set the flash to normal mode if it's on rear or slow. The "subject is too dark" line should be replaced by a listing of the mode you are in. The shutter speed should automatically go to 60 in A, S and P mode, and stay at any speed below 1/200 in M, and the flash icon on the bottom left will light up.

    Now gently push down the flash, and as you do so, watch the display. When the flash is part way down, you should see the display change back. The flash icon will gray out, the speed will return to its previous setting, and the "subject is too dark" message should reappear.

    If this is not happening there's something wrong with the flash.

    If this is happening, then something else is wrong, and further info would help.
  • edited May 2016
    Set up menu, next format memory card, and reset setup options.
    If all else fails try this, and see if the problem goes away.
  • There have been a couple of issues here in the past in which a complete reset solved the problem, even though the problem did not seem to make sense and was not attributable to user error. I don't think the D3300 allows a complete reset all at once as some cameras do, but as @haggis mentions, you can do this in the menu screen. For a complete reset do it in both the Setup and the Shooting menus.
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