I have a problem. I recently got a new lens (18-105mm) and my pictures just gets dark. I am shooting in manual mode, I changed to automatic mode without flash and it got lighter. There must be a setting or something that I use in manual mode which make this happen.

I have a Nikon D5200, got it for christmas. When I was studying, the school had exactly the same camera, but in my opinion took better photographs. Maybe this is just my imagination. The darker picture problem is very real though. I can try changing back to my standard lens (18-55mm) and see if that fixes it. The problem with 6400+ iso is noise and if I need such a high iso inside (even with light sources), how on earth will I be able to take pictures outside?

I see people posting images, specifying their ISO-settings, which usually is 800-1600. And those pictures turn out beautiful in a dark setting.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Chris, I've edited your question down to what I believe is your main question(you pointed out the others are minor). Here at stack exchange we only have 1 question per question. Feel free to ask another completely new question for the others, and welcome to the site! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Feb 22, 2016 at 1:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Why am I getting black photos when I use the Manual feature on my DSLR? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Feb 22, 2016 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you post an example and include the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture? \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Feb 22, 2016 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I fixed it by adjusting the shutter speed more. I have mainly altered the ISO and aperture values before, I've often used 1/30-1/60 shutter speed. I had to lower it to 1/8, aperture 3.5 and iso on 200 to get a picture where I'm actually able to see whats in the photo. Will post some pictures later specifying the settings. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris
    Feb 22, 2016 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Will post some pictures tomorrow night. If anyone still cares/sees this, that is. Also, I looked at some pictures taken with the camera from the school, and I saw that I had used f/1.8 in some pictures. The lens world is a jungle! Is my zoom lens an all around lens? Need to buy a prime lens with 1.8 aperture. And a macro. And a tele lens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris
    Feb 23, 2016 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


First you need to understand exposure. If you are using a higher ISO than you would prefer, you need to let more light in with either a longer shutter speed, or a wider aperture. See:

The Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 which isn't all that generous, although quite typical for an entry level kit lens.

So to start out with, are you shooting at the maximum aperture that your lens allows? Try aperture priority mode and f/3.5(you will have to zoom out to do this as your lens has a variable maximum aperture depending on how much you zoom in). More on variable maximum aperture lenses:

Second, are you shooting at a slow enough shutter speed for your conditions? Indoors with a lens like that and depending on your subject, you may want to shoot at 1/125th second, maybe slower or maybe faster but you could start approximately in that range. See:

Finally, if you just can't get enough light with the equipment you have, in the conditions you want to shoot - you may want to invest in equipment. A decent off camera flash is where I would start, but you could also get a fast prime lens for not much money. See:

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! Will look at the sites you posted. I am using maximum aperture (3.5) and when I zoom in, as you said, I get a lower one. My maximum zoom gives me 4-4.5 aperture. Don't have the camera beside me right now. I also used 1/60 shutter speed I think. I plan to buy an external flash and also a macro lens. Thing is, it's quite expensive and I am currently out of work so it'll have to wait a while. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris
    Feb 22, 2016 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chris - If you have the NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, the aperture max ranges from f/3.5 at 18mm to f/5.6 at 105mm. The maximums are properties of the lens itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Feb 22, 2016 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the clarification/correction. I would probably notice that myself, but as said my camera ain't beside me right now. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris
    Feb 22, 2016 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Deleted the comment and edited into my comment above. Yeah, I can take some great pictures with this lens. But still, I have lots to learn, lots and lots to learn. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris
    Feb 23, 2016 at 0:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the best way to light up a black picture? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 18, 2017 at 8:59

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