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"RE: Nikon D5100-Subject is to dark; cannot adjust exposure;Use the flash"
The camera no letting you snap at all occurs by default when it can't get a focus lock. There is an option to turn that off in the custom settings menu, option a1. Does the autofocus assist light turn on? It should come on by default to help the camera focus in low light conditions, you can check that it's custom setting a2. I don't know what you are shooting but areas with contrast help the camera to focus better, so basically not a solid color wall.
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