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I have a Nikon D3300 DSLR with 18-55mm lens. It was working well, but yesterday fell from the tripod. Now, I am trying to take pictures, but it just says the subject is too dark and can't adjust the exposure even when shooting in bright daylight. It just shows a completely black image on the screen, but my previous pictures and videos from before the fall look okay.

What should I do? Is the problem with the camera body or lens? Should I buy a new lens?

  • Have you tried all the different modes, is there an option to do a full reset to factory settings. – Alaska Man Aug 23 '18 at 20:46
  • yes i had tried all the different modes. it was no problem before fell down from tripod, but now when i took photo it' come totally black. do you know what is the main problem?? – Tul Purja Aug 23 '18 at 21:09
  • Does your screen light up when you use the camera's menu? How about when you are in Live View before the shot? Does it light up and show the scene then? – Michael C Aug 24 '18 at 6:27
  • What does the light meter indicate? Does it provide a reading at all? – Michael C Aug 24 '18 at 6:28
  • Did you check the internal mechanics? Remove lens and take a picture and look if the mirror and shutter moves at all? Or is there any other visible damage to the camera or lens? If you are sure, that no mechanical problem is there, then electronics came to my mind and at this point you should just use a repair service. – Horitsu Aug 24 '18 at 7:06
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Following is a list of some steps that may be helpful when attempting to determine whether your lens or your camera is broken. They are not guaranteed to find the cause of your problem. Rather, they are intended to direct your suspicions toward one or the other.

The list is long, but if you're familiar with your camera's operation, it should be quicker for you to do them than it is to write or read them. Skip any steps that do not apply to your particular lens or camera.

  1. It is a good sign that you are able to turn on and view previously taken images. This reduces the likelihood that your camera is broken. Try using the lens with a different camera if you have access to one. Also, if you can, try using a different lens with your camera.

    If the lens works fine with a different body, it is more likely that your camera body is broken. If the camera body works fine with a different lens, then it is more likely that the lens is broken. If both work fine connected to different equipment, but don't work when connected to each other, there is probably a problem with the communication between your camera and lens. Perhaps an issue with the contacts.

  2. Go into the camera menu to enable the ability to shoot without lens.

  3. Remove the lens from your camera. Observe mirror movement while firing the shutter. If movement appears abnormal, your camera may be broken.

  4. If the mirror appears to move normally, enable mirror lockup mode. Observe shutter movement while firing the shutter. If movement appears abnormal, your camera may be broken.

    As noted by Kat, the D3300 may not have a mirror lockup mode. However, if you switch to live view mode, the mirror should move out of the way for you to observe the shutter movements.

  5. If while firing the shutter without the lens, the result is a black image, your camera is likely broken. If the result is an image of diffuse light, it is less likely that your camera is broken.

  6. Turn the lens so that the front element is facing up (or down). Now turn it over so that the front element is facing the opposite direction. If you hear any rattling sounds, your lens may be broken.

  7. Reattach the lens to the camera. Zoom in and out. If the zoom ring sticks or there is any grinding, your lens may be broken.

  8. Half press the shutter and listen for the autofocus motor. If you do not hear it, the lens or your hearing may be broken. Look through the viewfinder. If you do not see any changes while attempting to focus on objects at various distances, your lens may be broken.

  9. Activate manual focus and focus on objects at various distances. If you do not see any changes in the viewfinder, your lens may be broken. 

  10. Activate depth of field preview. Look for changes in the scene through the viewfinder. Listen for the aperture adjustment. Look through the front of the lens to see if the aperture is changing. If none of these changes are observed, your lens may be broken.

    Apparently DOF preview is not available through the viewfinder on the D3300. For non-G lenses, Live View may be used instead. (Thank you, Michael Clark, for pointing this out.)

  11. Repeat checking focus and aperture (all steps after reattaching the lens to the camera) with vibration reduction both turned on and off. If normal images are recorded with one setting but not the other, the lens is likely broken.

  12. If any of the above leads you to believe your lens may be broken, it may not be broken. The camera or lens-camera communication may be faulty.

  • The Nikon D3300 does not have a Depth of Field preview button and there is no way to enable it in viewfinder mode. In Live View mode it is possible if you set the aperture before turning on LV, unless you are shooting with a 'G' lens, in which case it is not possible even in LV. – Michael C Aug 24 '18 at 6:26
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    Also no mirror lockup mode. There's an option to lock the mirror up for cleaning, which may allow some visual inspection to be done, but it's not possible to take photos in that mode so the shutter movement can't be directly observed. – Kat Aug 24 '18 at 7:18
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    I don't think the ability to review images has any bearing on whether the mechanics of the camera are damaged... I think your first sentence is giving false hope. – mattdm Aug 24 '18 at 12:44
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    @xiota Most, if not all, of the Nikon D3x000 and D5x00 series, because they're based on the legacy design of Nikon film bodies in which the same actuator moves the mirror and the aperture stop-down level. – Michael C Aug 24 '18 at 16:03

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