Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I use a Nikon D610 and whenever I take a picture, I get a black bar at the bottom covering half of the photo. How do I fix this? Is my shutter speed off? It isn't very fast, but no matter what I do I can't figure out a way to fix it.

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3 Answers 3

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The D610's maximum sync speed is 1/200s. If you have set your shutter speed higher than this, and you are not using Auto-FP (high-speed sync) or you're using a flash that cannot do high-speed sync, you get dark bars at the top and/or bottom of the frame.

Essentially, the shutter speed on a camera is controlled by the gap between the 1st and 2nd curtains. The larger the gap, the longer the shutter speed. As your shutter speed increases, this gap gets smaller, and at your maximum sync speed, is just large enough that your entire sensor is uncovered when the exposure is made.

Any faster, and the gap becomes smaller than your sensor, and since the flash burst is much faster than your shutter speed, parts of your sensor are covered by the curtains during the flash burst.

FP (focal plane) or high-speed sync mode requires that the camera and flash communicate with each other timing-wise, so that the flash can pulse light in sync with the gap sweeping across the sensor for the duration of the exposure, thereby getting the flash's illumination to the entire frame. But this will reduce the light from the flash a great deal (about two stops), and does require a flash and camera body combination that can perform HSS. E.g., a D3100 or a Yongnuo YN-560 cannot do HSS.

See also: Neil van Niekerk's tutorial on High-Speed Sync.

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so how do i fix it –  user29557 Jun 10 at 23:17
    
If you're using the pop-up flash, you can't--the pop up won't do FP/HSS. You need an HSS-compatible speedlight (e.g., SB-700, SB-910) on the hotshoe to use FP/HSS. You set FP/HSS by going into the custom functions and setting e1 to 1/200 Auto FP. –  inkista Jun 10 at 23:59
    
Didn't see that this is happening even without flash--in that case, you probably have a faulty shutter and need to get the camera serviced. –  inkista Jun 11 at 1:12
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Your shutter may be going bad. Needs to go back to the factory.

Does this happen when you use flash? If so, that would simply be a sync problem. Use a slower shutter speed.

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the camera is 3 months old and no even without flash i get it –  user29557 Jun 10 at 22:57
    
@user29557 Call customer service at Nikon and they'll have you send it back under warranty. Try going to the Nikon website and find out what the procedure is. I'm a Canon guy so I can't advise specifics, but I'm sure Nikon has a similar highly organized system for handling warranty repairs. It does sound like a defect. –  user4894 Jun 10 at 23:26
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Check to see if you accidentally set your camera to bracket photos. This happened to me last night.

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how would bracketing put a black bar at the bottom? –  Paul Cezanne Jun 12 at 17:26
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