I recently bought Nikon D7000 with 18-105mm. I am a newbie for DSLRs but improving day by day. I see that when taking pics after sun set or in low light in manual mode with flash( pop up) it over expose my pics. I haven't played with flash settings yet. So not sure if flash can also be tweaked in manual mode. I'll be grateful to you if you could guide me through this.

Thanks VB

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you use flash, you have to use short exposure times. What kind of image are you trying to make? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael K
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 9:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ say portraits.I always get confused while setting up the shutter speed and aperture as per the exposure meter. While the exposure meter is balanced what would be the effect of the flash? Overexposed? \$\endgroup\$
    – V.B
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 9:18

3 Answers 3


When using automatic flash with manual mode (at least on Canon, I believe it's the same with Nikon) the camera will use the settings you dialed in and try to use the flash to balance the light.

For example, if you set the shutter speed, aperture and ISO to under expose by one stop the camera will try to use the flash to compensate and bring the expose up one stop.


  1. if you expose correctly or overexpose using the manual settings the flash will add more light and obviously overexpose the image even more.

  2. if you set the camera to under expose by just a little bit it's likely the flash at minimum power will still be too powerful and will overexpose the image.

  3. if the camera is metering on a dark area of the image it will use too mach flash and overexpose the brighter areas (use spot metering mode and "flash exposure lock" to lock the flash power on the subject)

  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelK so how does the camera determine flash power in manual mode? from your answer it sounds like the camera doesn't set the flash power at all and that just doesn't make sense \$\endgroup\$
    – Nir
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 10:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nir You can influence the behavior of the flash with the Flash Compensation feature. The answer of Mike points to the correct page of the manual for an exact description. Also, the built in flash is not very configurable, it is not meant for serious usage as the 'main' flash. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael K
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 10:48

I would suggest you investigate Flash Exposure Compensation, which can be found on page 148 of the D7000 user manual.

It can be used in P/A/S/M modes (not auto modes), and you can dial back the intensity of the flash by up to 3 stops.

Hope that helps.


The exposure meter does not calculate how the taken picture will look. It shows you how bright your picture will be, based on what the sensor sees, it does not calculate the flash.
You should consider learning some basics about photography before using the manual mode.
With the build in flash, exposure for portraits in near darkness should be set around 1/200-1/250 second.
Also, I don't recommend shooting portraits in the dark in general.

I a nutshell:
If you shoot photos in the dark, the automatics wont really work and the exposure meter wont really work. You will have to know exactly what you are doing.

Related info:
The build in flash is not really good, it is mostly meant to trigger external flashes. If want to take portraits in dark environments often, I recommend buying and external flash like the SB-700.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The built-in (pop-up) flash is also a great fill light when it's set down a bit (-0.7 or more, depending on the darkness and harshness of the shadows you're trying to open up). Properly used, you wouldn't know it's there except for the extra tiny central catchlight (red-eye isn't usually a problem when you need fill), and it's easy to get rid of that in an image editor if it's a distraction. And it works as a main light in the right circumstances, particularly if you can get fill reflection from below -- the look is similar to a ring flash. Experiment a bit; it doesn't have to be horrible. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 11:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @StanRogers The avoid red-eye function (at least on my D90) works very well. I shot photos in near darkness with flash to try it out and I had no red-eye effect whatsoever. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael K
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 14:42

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