My dad has a Nikon D90, and we were out taking some pictures last night. He's complained about the camera "randomly" refusing to take a picture before. My theory was that it was because his focus was set to AF-S, but I didn't shoot with it enough to know.

However I did set it to AF-C and started shooting and noticed that there was about a half-second delay between pressing the shutter button and the camera firing. Things that may be noteworthy:

  • No, the self-timer wasn't on. It was for a moment and caused a 2s delay, but we fixed that :)
  • It's set to use back-button focus (AE-L/AF-L is set to AF-ON)
  • Flash was set to auto (and popped up, as it was dark)
  • Shutter speed was 1/100
  • ISO was 800
  • Exp. delay mode is OFF

I thought that it could be the flash charging, but it still happened after waiting a few seconds in between shots. Even the flash charging indicator stopped blinking.

One thing I just noticed sitting here trying to reproduce the behavior - it seemed like a half-press while the flash was charging would not allow me to take a picture after the flash finished charging, but repeating the experiment I couldn't get the behavior to repeat.

  • D80 or D90? Was red-eye reduction on? May 19, 2016 at 14:49

3 Answers 3


AF-S on D90 will not activate shutter until it is in focus. This is a good thing.

AF-C will activate shutter regardless if in focus yet or not, if that's what you really want. Holding half press a second first is a good plan.

The D90 has menu D10 that might be on, which adds about a one second delay after mirror rise, but before shutter activates.


Auto-focus needs some light and a good amount of contrast. If you are missing either it will seek and cause a shutter delay.


You may want to look into "AF-C Priority Selection" (if the camera has that setting) and see if it is set to Focus.

http://nps.nikonimaging.com/technical_solutions/d4_tips/autofocus/ https://blog.nikonians.org/digitaldarrell/2011/08/dd-understanding-what-focus-and-release-priorities-do-during-autofocus.html

In AF-C, Release Priority it will trigger whether the subject is in focus or not. Focus Priority will wait for focus.

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