Having problems with your Nikon D200 Body Only Digital Camera ?

Cannot take indoor photos without flash

\015 I have had my D200 for a couple weeks now and cannot take indoor photos without using my flash. When I do try to take a photo in my living room for example, the image is completely black without my flash. When I manually turn the flash on the images are just fine, but shouldn't I be able to take indoor shots without the flash - with my lights on?\015

Answers :

Hello,
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\015\012 Just as "Wrestling" explained, your camera is operating properly. There simply isn't enough light in the scene that you are trying to photograph. If you're new to photography, it's sometimes hard to remember that the human brain/eye combination is an incredible thing, and no camera can compete with a human being.
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\015\012What I mean is, there is enough light in your room for your eyes to see detail, but not enough for your camera to 'see' the detail without additional light from your flash. However, there are a couple things you can try.
\015\012
\015\0121. Raise the ISO setting on your camera (check your manual, it's easy). Turn the camera on, press and hold the ISO button (left top of camera) and rotate the main command dial (back of camera, upper left corner). Rotate left or right to lover or raise the ISO number. Watch in the top information panel as the ISO numbers change. Higher ISO numbers mean the camera is more sensative to light; you can take pictures when there is less light available. HOWEVER, there is a trade-off. The higher your ISO number, the more noise/grain your image will have. I think the ISO of the D200 is acceptable for enlargements (8x10's) up to about ISO 640 or 800. I'm very picky, you might find higher ISO settings work fine for your needs, especially if you are not making larger prints. Experiment! remember to change your ISO back to a lower setting when you're done with your low light pictures.
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\015\0122. Take your camera off the fully automatic "P" mode (where the camera makes all the decisions), and change your shutter speed to a slower speed. The slower shutter speed lets more light into the camera, because the 'eye' (the shutter) is open longer. (Use the "S" mode where you set the shutter speed and the camera selects an appropriate aperature). HOWEVER, there is a trade-off again. The slower your shutter speed the more likely you are to have blurred pictures; your subject will move or your camera will shake. If you're taking pictures of a stationary object or an adult, you can tell the person to sit very still and experiment! As for reducing camera shake, first and foremost, learn to hold the camera properly. I can't stress this enough...it's the biggest reason for blurred photos that I see. learn/practice squeezing the shutter realease, not stabbing it. Then, invest in a lens with the Vibration Reduction feature.
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\015\0123. Take your camera off of the fully automatic "P" mode and change your aperature. (If you like, you can use the "A" mode where you set the aperature and the camera selects the shutter speed for you). The aperature is how wide open the shutter "eye" opens with each picture. Think of your own eye. In bright sunlight, your pupils close down to small openings, as there is a lot of light available. If you are in a dark room, your pupils open as wide as possible to let as much light into your eye as possible. That's the same way a camera works. So, if you are in a darker room, you need to let more light into the camera...that means a larger aperature. The tricky part to remember is that the LARGEST aperature has the smallest number. That means a 3.5 aperature is a larger opening than an aperature of 16. HOWEVER, once again there is a trade-off, as a larger aperature means you have a smaller depth-of-field; depth of field means the area of your picture that is in focus. I'm sure you've seen landscape photos, where every detail is in sharp focus, the far away mountains and clouds, as well as small rocks and grass or a steam in the forground. That is created by a small aperature with a wide/deep depth of field. Then think of a portrait in a magazine or taken by a studio, where the person is in focus, but the background fades off into a pleasing blur. That's done with a large aperature and a narrow/shallow depth of field.
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\015\012NOTE: The widest aperature available is determined by your lens, so you can't use all the aperature settings with every lens. Your camera knows this and will only adjust to whatever your lens has available. That's why you might have different settings available with different lenses. Experiment!!
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\015\012OK, sorry if that was long-winded, but the D-200 is a great camera, yours is operating properly, and I want you to enjoy using it!
I can understand the frustration, however the flash is a certain level of bright light that allows a camera to pick up such detail in lower light settings, Although room light may seem bright enough for people, cameras however require more light to be able to process the photos. Enjoy your new camera, it sounds like it is working properly.
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