I have a new Nikon D850, and I'm using the Nikon SB-910 flash. When I take a shot, the flash pops 3 short flashes. Then the shutter engages, and the full flash goes off. The batteries are OK.
Does anybody have any ideas what the issue could be?
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Sounds like you have Red-eye reduction switched on.
From the linked online manual…
The characteristic of red-eye reduction is to pre-flash, one or more times, so your subject's pupils contract, preventing reflection of the flash from the rear of the eyeball.