Why am I getting black photos when I use the Manual feature on my DSLR?

  • I was taking photos a few days ago, and I had it set to Manual. After about four photos, the rest started coming out black. I could see through my eyepiece clearly, and it took the photo normally, but when I reviewed it they were all black.

    As was mentioned in the answers below, you'd have to post some of the "Black pictures" online, with EXIF data, so that people can confirm for sure that you were underexposing your shots...

    @matt.nguyen- It's literally a black photo, there isn't anything else. I've uploaded a few, and they're simply black. I didn't really see much of a point in uploading the photos.

    Comparing the settings chosen by the camera in program mode with those chosen by you in manual mode would be instructive, though.

    @AdraElkins: it may be just black, but it still has EXIF data in it, that will tell what the exposure settings were (ISO, aperture, shutter speed), in order to confirm whether the problem comes from your choice of manual settings, or from the camera itself.

    I think this question should actually be, "I was messing around with Manual mode and got black photos. What is Manual mode, and why would I use it?"

  • "Manual" means that it is up to you to set the correct exposure. It's conspicuous that you didn't mention what exposure settings you were using, so I'm not sure that you realize that you have to do that yourself.

    DSLRs have light meters in the viewfinder which show how over/under-exposed your manual settings are, according to the auto-exposure system. On Nikon cameras it shows up as a bar:

    +        0        -
    <--|--|--|--|--|-->
    

    If the meter is in the middle, then the autoexposure system considers the picture correctly exposed. If the meter is to the left, it is overexposed, and to the right, it is underexposed.

    Of course, there's no point in using manual if you blindly follow the autoexposure system's recommendations. But if the meter shows severe underexposure, then you're probably underexposing the image and will get a black image.

    Increase the aperture or decrease the shutter speed, or switch to an automatic mode (such as P, S, or A).

    +1 for *Of course, there's no point in using manual if you blindly follow the auto-exposure system's recommendations*.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM