Misfire HELP - Nikon DSLR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by snapple, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Moderator Note - moved from Beginner Forum

    Picture this... I have been shooting just fine all day.. indoors and out... I'm at the base of the isle at a wedding, as the ceremony begins, my camera starts misfiring. When I use that term, I mean I am pressing the shutter release button and no photo is being taken.

    This happened to me on my D90 & D3200, but I chocked it up to being the level of camera I was shooting on. This happened again with my new D750.

    I was shooting on aperture priority mode when it happened. I tried switching to manual. I tried switching to automatic. I tried switching to manual focus from auto focus. I tried every combination but still, I had misfires in outdoor consistent light AND during the reception (which I am guessing is being the tent was very poorly lit).

    What could be happening to cause a misfire in all modes? New class 10 memory cards, decent lenses...

    Ideas welcome!

    PS- I tried manually disabling in-body flash in those modes and it seemed to help.. but I am not sure if that's the complete answer.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2017
  2. Switch to backup camera, troubleshoot later.

    Seems odd that it would happen to 3 cameras in a row.
    - Where are you and what is the weather? moisture?

    If the AF is in S mode, the camera won't fire unless the lens is in focus.
    - So check if this happens with ALL your lenses, and note if the problem happens with specific lenses. Then clean the contacts and test again.

    Check and clean ALL electrical connections; battery/camera, lens/camera.
    Do the lens/camera contact cleaning AFTER testing the AF above.
    snapple likes this.
  3. I used to shoot with Nikon DSLRs and I remember one quirk that I discovered - you guessed it - at a wedding I was shooting. Basically, there is an option that prevents the shutter being fired unless AF has recently been acquired by the camera. That's what Gary described above. Your problem sounds much worse than that, though.
    beegeedee likes this.
  4. yes, probably the cameras are set to wait for focus confirmation, whether auto-focus or manual and it is too dark to focus accurately
  5. If your D750 has default settings, in single shot mode it will require focus confirmation; if you switch to continuous shooting, it should default to shutter release, so it shouldn't block you from firing a shot, even if it's not in focus. In my view, for events using continuous mode is useful anyway as it allows you to shoot series far more easy than with the single shot mode.

    However, if this would be the cause, you should feel that the shutter release feels completely different when pushed (mushy, like it blocks, instead of a crisp button push), and that tactile difference exist exactly as a warning something isn't happening. So, it should be fairly easy to establish this is what is going on.

    One thing to remember with AF is that it does need contrast. Focus gets locked on something with a clear contrast - so AF may struggle if your AF point is over the middle of the bride's dress, which in most conditions will hardly have any contrast. Good light helps having contrast in a scene, which speeds up AF a lot, but the quality of light is not only about the quantity of light, but also whether it casts some shadows (very flat lightning may not!).
    Another thing is that the D750 has quite some settings for its AF, and some settings work better/faster than others - so taking your time to really get grips with it is time well spent.
  6. This is one of the reasons I have switched to back button focus on my Nikons. The AE-L/AF-L button is now my AF-On button, autofocus set to Continuous, and AF-C and AF-S Priority selection set to Release. This completely decouples the autofocus function from the shutter release. It prevents any delay in shutter release while the camera waits (sometimes in vain) for autofocus to be obtained. It allows me to easily choose a specific focus point, set focus, and then re-frame without having to hold a button down or half-down. I keep the camera in AF-C mode, and then only hold down the Focus-On button until I have achieved the desired focus. I also enable the Shutter Release AE-L function so I can meter the shot to any location in the frame. This approach means developing a new set of operational habits (learning to press the Autofocus-On button when you need to focus), but it adds a new level of flexibility and control to my shooting. However, I can't just hand my camera to another photographer for a shot without first switching to Auto mode, or setting the desired focus myself. Unless shooting action, I keep the camera in single point focus mode, carefully choose my focus point, re-frame, and then shoot at will. For action, I change to multiple points as appropriate to the level of action and frame coverage.
    snapple likes this.
  7. I would very much agree that it sounds like a lack of focus.

    FWIW, the newer Nikon AF systems are quite intelligent and generally do a good job if left to their own device to pick a focus point, but in situations where my rear end is on the line(or I just want it to work and not think about it) I don't treat the AF system in my D800 any differently than I do my F4. That means that I pick the center point, lock focus, and recompose. I'm starting to trust multi-point select on the D800 a bit more, but I still like the control of single point AF and I prefer that the single point be the center.

    In addition, if I'm not using continuous AF(IMO, that's best used in combo with back-button AF as mentioned above) I also change to release priority. That's custom function A2 on my D800 and CF 2-1 on the F5. I'm sure your cameras all offer that option, although I don't have any of them so can't say where to find them(look in the custom functions menu, autofocus sub-menu). I do caution you to make sure you know what you're doing before enabling this, though. I learned on manual focus cameras and still use them regularly, so my habit is to evaluate the focus before releasing the shutter. I know that not everyone operates in this way, however.
    snapple likes this.
  8. I have had more trouble with "intelligent" camera selection of the AF point that it is worth.
    In groups of people, the camera will choose the WRONG person to focus on 90% of the time. Because it has no way of knowing which one is the real subject.
    I've also had it switch focus to the lines of the tennis court rather than the player.
    So I am back to single point, center, AF. KISS
  9. In case it's nothing to do with AF mode (and snapple does say manual focus was tried)...

    One cause of bizarre camera "lock up" I found was that, especially shooting portrait mode, my left hand has, in supporting the lens/body, accidentally held down the AF mode button. I've forgotten whether this would block the shutter release, but it certainly stops anything else working because the camera thinks you're trying to set AF mode.

    I get why the mechanical disconnect for the AF screw is simpler if it's on the lens mount, but I maintain the AF mode selector button is in a stupid place ergonomically - I can't reach it when I want to on some lenses, and press it accidentally with others. Worth checking?

    I was going to bring up flash guns, but I don't recall whether all combinations take a while even when the flash hasn't recharged - I think most do, and just under-expose.

    Good luck!
    snapple likes this.
  10. A flaw in Andrew Garrard's mode button theory is that there is no such mode button on a D3200. AF can be switched off only in the menu or on the lens.

    As for beegeedee's suggestion, the D3200 and D7x00 at least do not wait for confirmation in manual focus, and I doubt any do. In MF or back button focus, you can take a picture with the lens cap on or with no lens at all. Like David Triplett, I switched to back button focus on the D3200 for this reason, since the D3200 is always in focus priority otherwise.

    I'm more inclined to think that if disabling the flash helped, that's the direction to look in. There certainly is a delay with the built in flash, and at least in the case of the D3200, it won't shoot while it recycles.

    I have had some instances with the D3200 and flash, in which it simply refused to shoot at all. I rarely use flash, and never found an answer because it was intermittent. It happened only with flash use. I suspect the issue is with TTL, as it's never misbehaved when the flash is on manual mode.
    snapple likes this.
  11. Oops - good catch, Matthew. I should have checked the manual for those bodies. Sorry for the misinformation.

    And I failed to register that snapple had mentioned the flash when I brought it up. I'd find that worthy of investigation, at least.
  12. From description I would guess that built-in flash has somekind of overheating protection that prevents shutter release while circuit cools down. Another possibility is that camera focusing system is not set to release priority in all focusing modes.

    I have F65 that is sometimes reluctant to release, even with manual focus mode and focus confirmation light visible. Usually it takes number of attempts and some play with composing to get the shot. The malfunction is not that bad that I would stop using the camera, but perhaps I will choose another camera for events.
    snapple likes this.
  13. Reminds me of the Canon T80, though I only had one roll through it.

    At least a few shots on the one roll I had in it, at the same time as pressing the shutter release, it decides to refocus, such that the resulting exposure is nowhere close to in focus.

    Yes, I have had Nikon DSLRs miss a carefully timed shot, when it decided it wasn't in focus.
  14. It's quite annoying when the OP of these mystery problem threads doesn't respond with any feedback.

    Now we might never know what the issue was if it ever crops up again.
    kendunton likes this.
  15. The D3200 does not allow release priority in any AF mode, and does not allow anything but release priority in MF mode. In back button focus, it is always focus priority with the button down, always release priority with the button released.
  16. Please try and relax! People have busy careers.
  17. Not too busy to snipe at me with a passive-aggressive remark, apparently!
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  18. 12 days for a response to a forum from the OP on an interesting problem is kinda long......;)

    Short of an EMP, there's nothing I know of that can disable 3 different DSLRs with different lenses both inside, where it' dark and outside with plenty of light, in AF, MF, Manual Exp or Fully Automatic.

    In defining 'misfire', is that no shutter actuation, it fails to fire 1 in 2 or 1 in 20 or very occasionally?

    In true trouble shooting mode do ALL they do this now?
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  19. I know 2 situations :

    - Low on power : drained battery
    - Full storage card

    Then there additional reasons like moist having entered the camera and several other defects ( dirt enterred at the release button etc.)

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