Total beginner here, have been having great fun with my Nikon D3300 during the past year but recently, when using the viewfinder, everything looks perfect but when I look at the image that has been taken, I can see images are coming out black bar a tiny strip of normal image at the very top of the screen.

This only happens using the viewfinder. However, liveview gives a perfect image of the exact same view. It happens with both of my lenses (Nikkor 18-55 and Tamron 70-300) irrespective of what mode I use or whether I'm shooting indoors or outside, so I’m assuming it’s a fault with my settings or body? Any help greatly appreciated!

Sunset image taken through viewfinde[view

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ What are you trying to shoot (e.g. indoors, outdoors) and what are your exposure settings (ISO, shutter speed, aperture)? \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Mar 18, 2018 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have a Nikon 18-55mm lens and a Tamron 70 -300mm Lens. Pictures are perfect using liveview. Only problem is using Viewfinder the pictures come out black bar the very top of the image \$\endgroup\$
    – user74045
    Mar 19, 2018 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Regardless of whether it’s on auto or any other mode, indoors or outdoors I get an almost black screen as u can see above in a sunset photo, liveview pictures of the exact same view come out perfect.. :( \$\endgroup\$
    – user74045
    Mar 19, 2018 at 19:04

2 Answers 2


Looks like the mirror may not be swinging out of the way correctly when the shutter fires. Try this :

Put the camera on viewfinder mode, put it to your eye and take a picture. The viewfinder image should go dark for a fraction of a second as the mirror swings out of the way and returns.

If it does, there could still be an issue with the synchronisation between the mirror and the shutter. Try a really long shutter time, say 1 second. If the mirror swing is just slightly delayed, you'll probably get an image this time as the mirror gets out of the way part way through the exposure. If it's gone really bonkers, the mirror might not move until the shutter closes, in which case the viewfinder won't go dark until after the exposure is complete.


Try this. Remove the battery. If you have a new fully charged battery insert it. If not, try fully recharging your battery before reinserting it into the camera. Next, turn on the camera and press the LIVE View button and see if you can see through the View Finder and see a clear image. Also, Do you hear a mechanical switching noise of the mirror when you press on the LIVE View button?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ With a normally functioning camera, the viewfinder will be black upon engaging Live View. \$\endgroup\$
    – K. Minkov
    Mar 19, 2018 at 8:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ No joy unfortunately, there is a switching noise changing from viewfinder to liveview and from liveview to viewfinder. Viewfinder is black with liveview engaged. \$\endgroup\$
    – user74045
    Mar 19, 2018 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Right, as was stated, the viewfinder ABSOLUTELY MUST BE DARK when LiveView is engaged. The SLR mirror must be down for the viewfinder to see the lens image, but this mirror must be up for LiveView to see the lens image. Remove the lens and look inside the body to see this. \$\endgroup\$
    – WayneF
    Mar 19, 2018 at 19:46

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