I have an issue with my Nikon D3100:

Some of the shots show lines over the long edge. At first I thought it was only happening when using the Sigma 70-200, but after some thorough testing it appears to happen with my Nikkor lenses (18-55mm, 35mm) also. Sometimes it is just a few lines, other times it´s many.

I´ve been in touch with Sigma and they tell me it is probably my sensor suffering from interference of the sound equipment used at concerts. That was easy to dismiss, performing tests in different situations.

Then I contacted Nikon and they tell me it is probably due to my SD card. Well, I use several (SanDisk, Kingston) and the problem shows with every card. Currently, I can throw away about 25% of the shots taken at every session.

My question to you is to please look at the sample shots and tell me if any of you has seen this before? If so, what was the solution (if any)? What are your thoughts?

shot with Sigma 70-200 @ 200mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec, ISO3200

shot with Sigma 70-200 @ 120mm, f/2.8, 1/400sec, ISO3200

Photo 1 shot with Sigma 70-200 @ 200mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec, ISO3200

Photo 2 shot with Sigma 70-200 @ 120mm, f/2.8, 1/400sec, ISO3200

Thank you for your time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this visible in other situations, eg outdoors? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2012 at 12:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, yes... At first I didn´t notice. It looks like there is some relation to the shutter speed and outdoors I usually got a very high shutter speed considering the Portuguese sun. But that is something I can not test during concerts, unless there is really a lot of stage lighting, which is usually not the case ;-) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2012 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just got a message from a fellow shooter, who saw it a few times with a D7000 and a 300mm zoom, but never with his D3100. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2012 at 14:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's hard to tell what's going on with cropped images (we have no way of knowing whether the position and band size is consistent) but I have to tell you it does look an awful lot like RFI (assuming a horizontal scan read sequence), so the Sigma folks weren't just trying to blow smoke up your nether orifice. If the bands are the same size and in the same position in every frame (perhaps varying in intensity), I might suspect a read/addressing problem. If it changes from frame to frame and there are no colour artifacts, it could be a slightly stuttering shutter curtain. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Dec 9, 2012 at 3:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Stan,Position and band size is inconsistent, some frames non-existent, no colour artifacts, so \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2012 at 10:40

2 Answers 2


It looks like a clear example of sensor damage. My old friend's Nikon got something similar.

You need to contact Nikon service to get your camera fixed. There isn't anything you can do yourself, nor should you attempt any repairs as you might lose the warranty, or cause further damage only increasing repair costs.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for all your input, people.Last week got the camera back from Nikon Repair... The say they fixed it, calibrated the camera, etc, etc, etc. Problem solved? No, obviously not. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2013 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ By now, the camera has been back and forth to the techies several times and apparently it is impossible to convince them that there is really something not right with the sensor. Calibrated, re-calibrated, cleaned, etc. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21, 2013 at 10:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I´ve heard every possible excuse, ranging from high ISO noise to slow shutter to SD card problems (that last one made me laugh so hard it hurt) Decided to step up to a D7000; using the same lenses ... no problem so far. It´s sad really that manufacturers can get away with this. Only `solace´ is that a friend with a pro Canon had the same kind of probs and also gave up. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21, 2013 at 11:00

I've just started having this same problem with my D3100 and I'm sure it only happens when shooting in low light/darkness as its never happened before and I'm used to shooting during the day so hadn't noticed it untill lately when I've been shooting in low light. Anyway I found this answer on another forum and it makes sence as its only happen to me while i was using the burtst setting on my camera & in lowlight :/ I would say its a Nikon D3100 fault: I've seen lots of posts about this and this answer makes the most sense to me.

Answer from forum!

I was afraid to post this in case it didn't end up being the solution and I would just be jinxing myself, but it has been a few months now and I haven't seen a single line as in my previous photos. How did I fix it? Easy - I just changed the the burst setting from multiple shots to single shot mode. Perhaps in burst mode when trying to take one shot, the shutter would open just enough (or something else would happen), to let in some stray light in anticipation of the next frame.

The reason I had it in burst mode before, is because I figured why not? If I want one shot, I will press the shutter once, if I want more, I'll hold it down. Didn't think there was any disadvantage until I discovered the above.

Could this be the solution to your outdoor shooting problem too? I never saw these lines in outdoor shooting in either setting, at least not that I ever noticed.


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