Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising

Flash / No Flash Question


3 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author
s1p Registered since 18th Sep 2012
Tue 18-Sep-12 03:39 PM

After shooting with Sony Alpha's for the past 5 years, I decided to take the leap and switch over to Nikon. I recently purchased the 5100, and since then, I'm debating on if it was a good idea, instead of going with the D7000. With that said, hopefully someone can help me figure out (or understand) what's going on with my flash setup.

First, the setup - 5100 in 'A' mode, AWB, ISO 100, Continuous, AF-S, Single Point Focus, Center Weighted Metering, ADL-Auto, Auto-Bracking OFF, 0.0 Exposure AND Flash Compensation. Len is Nikon AF-S 50 @ f1.8, but same results with kit lens. Internal Flash CLOSED, external flash attached (Sunpak DigiFlash 3000). I was doing a dim studio shot, so lighting wasn't 'ideal' but was composed for the shot and not for the camera

Now, the 'problem' that's driving me nuts!

Using the exact settings listed above with the external flash turned OFF and powering ON the camera, the 'flash' icon is grey, but the '?' is flashing saying too dark. Release shutter, photo is good.

Now, if I turn the external flash ON, the 'flash' icon goes white, like I should. Release shutter, photo is good.

Now, the kicker. If I turn OFF the flash (And leave it physically attached) - the 'flash' icon on the screen stays white. Push the shutter button and ... Zip - Nada - Nothing.

If I switch to 'M' and do the exact same as above, there's no difference.

My question is this - is there any way to override the 'hey, you REALLY need flash, so I'm not going to let you take a photo' setting? Some shot's I want to use flash, some I don't and out of habit from the A580, I just reach up and turn off the external flash. Since the 5100 doesn't have a 'No Flash' option (That I've found) with a external flash or wireless trigger attached, its a real hassle.

Any ideas, suggestion or solutions are extremely welcomed. Anyone with a D7000 that can chime in on this as well is very welcomed, since I don't want to get the D7000 and run into the same issues!


Pa, US
4419 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#1. "RE: Flash / No Flash Question" | In response to Reply # 0

Leonard62 Gold Member Awarded for excellent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community, especially of Nikkor Lenses Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Resources articles library Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009
Tue 18-Sep-12 11:15 PM

The D5100 shouldn't act this way. However it will only recognize a Nikon flash which is CLS compatible. I have no problem using a non-CLS flash but by setting the shutter speed in M mode and the flash in Auto mode or manual. I don't have a Sunpak flash. Is your model a dedicated Sony model? What mode are you putting the flash in? I can shoot the D5100 in any light with or without a flash in any light. The flashing ? is only a reminder you need more light, it won't stop you from taking a photo. If you want the camera to operate the way you want it will but I recommend a Nikon flash mentioned in the D5100 manual. . However they don't make a low cost model like the Sunpak.


Visit my Nikonians gallery.


3 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#2. "RE: Flash / No Flash Question" | In response to Reply # 1

s1p Registered since 18th Sep 2012
Wed 19-Sep-12 10:48 AM

Len, thanks for the reply! The Sunpak DF3000N (Search B&H Photo) is a 'Idiot flash' - no controls at all on it, except for power, fully auto TTL settings:) We do mostly studio work with wireless triggers, so a 'flash' isn't a biggie for us at the moment since we're still on the fence with this camera.

The problem I'm having is when I turn the flash OFF (by the flash's power switch) and it's still attached to the camera, (and the pop-up flash is closed) the camera doesn't see that I turned the flash off and still has the 'will flash' icon on the display. By turning the flash off and the camera expecting it to fire, it doesn't allow a photo to be taken.

In studio, with the wireless trigger attached instead of a flash, I have to physically remove the trigger since the camera doesn't have a 'no-flash' setting, if I don't want it to fire.

Any mode, P/S/A/M - if I have either the flash or the trigger attached, if I remove it and the camera is expecting it to flash because of low-light, I get locked out. Make's it really hard to do dark shots.

Now, on the other hand, not comparing apples to oranges, with any of the Sony Alpha's, I set shutter speed and aperture, tell it no-flash and start shooting.

Ive spent more time trying to figure out what's going on with the D5100 and the flash issue then I really wanted to. Why can't nikon just give us a 'no-flash' option in the settings and be done with it :) LOL


31592 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#3. "RE: Flash / No Flash Question" | In response to Reply # 0

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Wed 19-Sep-12 03:08 PM

Hi Richard,

Welcome to Nikonians!
Since the D5100 is an entry level body many of the features and dedicated buttons on the higher level bodies were ommitted to keep the low price point.
Using a non-Nikon Speedlight even though it may be i-TTL capable may be contributing to your problem.

It sounds like the function (fn) button included on the D7000 and higher bodies is what you are looking for. The function button can be assigned to control one of about twelve options including "Flash Off" which will prevent the built-in Speedlight or a Speedlight in the hotshoe from firing when the fn button is pressed.
The D7000 also has a penta-prism viewfinder, a Sub-Command dial, dedicated buttons so settings can be easily changed on the fly without going into the camera menu.
It also supports All AF Nikon F mount lenses with the exception of the 80mm f/2.8 and the 200mm f/3.5 designed for the F3AF back in 1983. It will also support metering with AI, and AI modified Manual Focus Lenses.
The D7000 also has Commander mode included in the built in Speedlight.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,


3 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#4. "RE: Flash / No Flash Question" | In response to Reply # 3

s1p Registered since 18th Sep 2012
Wed 19-Sep-12 11:27 PM

Thanks Marty! That's exactly what I was hoping to find out. Knowing that the D7000 will allow us to tell the camera to totally ignore the lack of light and take the photo regardless is perfect.

There's so many little things that you look for when switching from one brand to another, and I guess it just never occurred to me there wouldn't be a 'no flash' setting on the 5100. Live and learn

Other than this little issue, I have been pleased with the 5100, and it's a great camera. Little slower on the FPS then the A580, but I knew that getting into it (And doesn't really matter that much doing studio shoots).

Guess I'll be ordering a D7000 next week, and switching forums

Again, Thanks to both of yall for getting back and letting me know that I wasn't overlooking a simple menu setting or something. I don't have much hair left, but being able to keep what I do have is great - LOL!


826 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#5. "RE: Flash / No Flash Question" | In response to Reply # 4

cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Apr 2012
Thu 20-Sep-12 01:57 AM

I have a D5100 & a D7000. If I were doing studio work, I would most definitely prefer a D7000. There are a lot of things I like about the D5100, but it is kind of a strange duck in Nikon's lineup.

Much more control, and controls in a more normal place on the D7000.

The D5100 does have a fn button. I have mine set to ISO. It can't be set to disable flash.


Visit my Nikonians gallery.