Once in a while, my recently acquired used D90 doesn't respond to the press of the shutter release button. Half-press, full-press, neither works. I make sure the Automatic/Manual focus switches are all set to auto. that doesn't help. I turn it off and turn it back on again, then it works. I am using Nikon 18-105 kit lens. Please help.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does it only happen in the dark/low light? If so, it's probably because the auto-focus (when the camera is in manual mode) can't focus in the dark. If that is the case, switching the camera to auto mode (no flash) will allow the camera to use the focus-assist light (not sure that's the right term) and take the picture. I have the same issue with my D3000. If it's in all light conditions, I have no answer, sorry! \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2011 at 2:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you get a green light (focus indicator)? \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Aug 2, 2011 at 3:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ This sounds similar to a problem I have on occasion: see photo.stackexchange.com/questions/9719/… \$\endgroup\$
    – seanmc
    Aug 2, 2011 at 10:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ The focus indicator, i.e the green dot keeps blinking if I keep the shutter button pressed (after being frusturated) \$\endgroup\$
    – pradeeptp
    Aug 2, 2011 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried to click the photograph of a flower early morning around 7 AM. The light was enough. I guess it is the problem of focus as everybody has suggested, because once I was in my dimly lit room, I could take photographs in automode in which it used flash all the time. Is there anyway to take photograph (force) even if the subject is not in focus? \$\endgroup\$
    – pradeeptp
    Aug 2, 2011 at 15:40

4 Answers 4


Unless your unit is defective, by default most DSLRs will not release the shutter if:

  1. Focus has not been acquired.
  2. The flash is charging
  3. The buffer is full

1 and 2 can be over-ridden using the custom settings. If you go to MF or AF-C (which defaults to Release-Priority) you should not experience this due to #1. If the flash is down (and no flash is attached to the hot-shie), you your next experience this due to #2.

3 happens when the camera is waiting to write to the memory card. If you get a faster memory card, the limit can be pushed further but only up to a point. It happens if you keep shooting consecutive shots quickly.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Focus lockout is the #1 reason my D90 refuses to take a picture. Annoying, though useful sometimes. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2011 at 4:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Like I mentioned before,it seems to be problem of focus. If so, I think it is a very very annoying issue as I feel sometimes that the focus is fine, but the auto focus indicator on the view finder does not light up and the photo is not taken. I never expected such issues with this camera. I will try your suggestion and get back. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – pradeeptp
    Aug 2, 2011 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ You will probably notice this happens more at the long end of the zoom. That lens which you use is very dim, as are all kit-lenses. I recommend you buy a bright lens, even at the expense of zoom range and your image quality will increase as a bonus. If you cannot afford such a Nikkor lens, third-parties (like Tokina) have good options too but they are hit-or-miss. The general clue is price. A cheap lens from anyone is still a cheap lens and expensive ones are generally better. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Aug 2, 2011 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pradeeptp: also check the diopter adjustment on your viewfinder. Your "fine focus" might really be off because of this. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2011 at 19:52

Apart from the focus issue Itai already explained there is one other "feature" which can lead to this behavious:

If you put your camera into IR remote mode pressing the shutter on the camera does not respond.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh, good to know. With Pentax the shutter button still works in that mode. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Aug 3, 2011 at 13:09

I had the same problem. After a bit of research, I discovered that the 18-105 kit lens is not well made and has problems making a firm contact with the camera. Many times when the camera refused to take a picture (even if I went totally manual), I could get it to work by gently tightening the lens a bit. When I switch to a different lens, the problem disappears.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a new information for me. Thanks for sharing! \$\endgroup\$
    – pradeeptp
    Aug 4, 2011 at 15:11

I just bought my D90 used (but it looks just like new) and it had the same problem.

All my auto buttons were assigned to auto and then I found one that was set to AF-ON under f4 Assign AE-LAF-L button. I tried different settings on that screen and ended up with the camera set at AF lock only. Now my half down focus works perfectly with every lens.

Let me go from the start so you know where this screen is at:

  3. F4 Assign AE-L/AF-L button
  4. AF lock only
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the great info on setting AF lock only. That solved my problem, too. Good stuff! \$\endgroup\$
    – user19444
    Apr 19, 2013 at 2:35

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