Why does the camera say Subject is too Dark and refuse to click the shutter

  • I was trying to take some nice pictures of the Toronto city skyline from the shores of Lake Ontario under a full moon night. Now I put my nikon d5200 on a tripod and set f/4 and shutter = 30 sec. I am using 18 mm focal length. But from time to time, it tells me that 'Subject is too Dark' and the shutter won't even press all the way down! I am in 'M' mode.

    The lens keeps rotating clockwise and counterclockwise to try and focus and gives up.

    How to get around this? Do I need to experiment with manual focus? The funny thing is I point the camera directly at the bright full moon and still it says 'Subject too Dark'.

    Now the funny thing is that when I look at exposure meter in view finder , it shows that the image is over exposed by 3 bars. And I expect this while looking at a full moon for 30 sec with a wide aperture.

    How can it be overexposed and still be Too Dark ?

  • Ian Lelsie

    Ian Lelsie Correct answer

    7 years ago

    I suspect that you have the camera set on auto focus single shot which by default will only fire if it can acquire focus. Since getting AF to work in the dark is not easy (but not always impossible) I think what happened is the camera could not get a AF lock and would not trigger.

    To take pictures like that switch to manual focus and set the lens to infinity (or focus via the view finder). Then you will have no troubles taking a picture.

    Thanks. How to set lens to infinity. Also when you say 'or focus via the view finder', you mean look through view finder, half press shutter and manually rotate the focus ring?

    You'd only need to half press the shutter button if you were using the electronic focus confirmation. But since AF won't would, you need to do it the old fashioned way, i.e. turn the focusing ring back and forth until the image is in focus. Do you have live view? if so, you can use a magnified image to really nail the focus.

    Thank you for valuable guidance. Just an hour ago i ws trying to capture full moon but D5200 didnt operate.

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