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I recently (2 months ago) bought a Nikon D5200 as my first DSLR. All was well until a few days ago, but now it seems every daytime shot I take in auto-mode (including the various modes like Landscape/Portrait etc) is completely over-exposed and washed out. The only way I can get a regular shot is to switch to "A" or "S" mode and manually set the exposure compensation to something large and negative (e.g. -5.00).

In auto-mode the ISO is set to auto, the WB is set to auto, as indeed are most things, so I'm baffled at what is causing the over exposure, and why this problem has suddenly arisen. Even in say aperture priority mode, "A", when I manually set the ISO to 100, and set the WB to "Direct Sunlight", the shots still come out too white/washed out unless I mess with setting exposure compensation.

I've tried doing the factory reset by pressing and holding the two buttons , and I've also reset the shooting menu, and anything else I could find to reset, but still the shots are overexposed in "Auto" mode.

Does this mean my camera has been bashed and needs servicing or is there something else I could try?

Here is a pic of the camera lens attachment area:

attachment area 1

attachment area 2

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Nikon lenses have a mechanical connection for aperture control that is spring loaded at both the camera end and inside the lens that could suffer damage if disconnected while in the wrong position. If the tab on the control lever in the camera is bent it causes incorrect aperture settings that usually result in overexposure (because the tab usually bends up and the lens doesn't stop down as far as the camera tells it to stop down). The linkage lever inside the camera can also be bent by improperly attaching a lens. In some cases it can fail to engage the aperture control lever on the lens at all!

One way to test for this is to set the lens to the widest aperture (lowest f-number) and see if exposure is affected the same way as if the les is set to the minimum aperture (with a corresponding shift in shutter speed to compensate). Another way is to use the Depth of Field Preview button (DoF) to see if the lens stops down any from the widest aperture when set to a stop or so narrower. If you are using the 18-55mm kit lens zoom it to 55mm (because the extra magnification helps you see the aperture by looking down the front of the lens) and set the aperture to f/5.6. Then press the DoF button to see if the lens stops down any. If not, set the aperture to f/6.3 and observe if the aperture stops down when the DoF button is pressed. Progressively set the aperture value in 1/3 stops to f/7.1, f/8, f/9, f/10, f/11, f/13, etc. and observe if the the aperture stops down when the DoF button is pressed. If the aperture isn't stopping down until you've gone a few stops into the series, then you have a problem with the mechanical linkage between your camera and lens.

  • See also photo.stackexchange.com/questions/58045/… – Michael C Jan 1 '16 at 10:57
  • Thanks for the reply. The lens is actually a Tamron I think. I added a couple of pics, but couldn't myself see anything obviously bent etc – fpghost Jan 2 '16 at 2:00
  • Even if it is a Tamron lens, if it mounts on your Nikon it has the Nikon mount design. – Michael C Jan 2 '16 at 3:59
  • Have you tried the "stop down" test outlined above? – Michael C Jan 2 '16 at 5:44
  • Could be wrong, but I don't think the d5200 has a DoF preview button? – fpghost Jan 2 '16 at 6:07

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