View Full Version : Black Vertical Bar In Photo, Please Help.

09-15-2014, 10:22 PM

I may have just figured out what the dark bar/stripe is. Could it have been the shadow of the foreground wooden post cast from the flash I used?? I am relatively a beginner with portrait photography. Please provide feedback so I can put my mind at ease that there is nothing actually wrong with my camera and that I can learn how to avoid this happening in future shots.

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I recently took a photo (attached) which resulted in having a dark vertical bar which spans down the length of the photo. I sent the photo and my concern to Nikon and this was their response:

'If this is happening with more then one memory card then you may have an issue with the sensor of the unit. Please send the unit into service if this is a re-occurring issue.'

As I can not get a straight answer from Nikon as to how long the camera may be in service, and I have a trip coming up soon, I don't want to risk being without the camera. It was only one photo that this happened to(that I have noticed out of the 1000+ I have taken so far), so it may just be a simpler cause?

Notes to keep in mind:

- I took the photo with a polarizing filter on. I know it is not ideal in shade, but could it have been the culprit? The vertical bar looks a bit too perfectly geometric to me to be caused by a filter.

- I took the photo in RAW format and it is available if the photo setting details could help resolve what caused this. Let me know and I will post the camera settings.

The bar/stripe runs down just left of center of the subject model.

I appreciate all the help.


09-16-2014, 11:28 PM
Really? Over 60 views to this post and not one comment or suggestion? Please?

09-17-2014, 12:37 AM
I doubt there's anything wrong with your camera. The line does look like a shadow, which, if you used flash, should be there depending on how you held your camera and where you stood relative to the post. Camera and flash settings may have influenced the shadow. But there is no shadow on the background behind the model. You really answered your own question.

09-17-2014, 06:55 AM
I'm with mbrager - shadow on model was caused by light, not your camera.

To prove it to yourself take a picture of a white wall, if it was the camera you'll see it on the white wall.

Hope that may help

christopher steven b.
09-17-2014, 09:47 AM
There are to me 3 possibilities here:

1) some kind of sensor issue--my guess is only having seen one example photo that it's NOT a sensor issue
2) a shadow cast from an off-camera light
3) you used flash but exceeded your sync speed--so your shutter wasn't open long enough for the light to fully cycle thus cutting off the bottom of your frame (the left side of the frame would be the bottom of your frame if you had shot in landscape.). If you poke through your EXIF info and see 'flash fired - yes' and some shutterspeed that is greater than 1/320 or thereabouts--well, that's your answer. My guess is that this is the answer because the effect only occurs in the foreground (where your flash would reach) and not the background as far as I can tell.

09-17-2014, 09:49 AM
Hey, John.

Sorry for the slow reply. Based on what I can see I agree with the others as well. If you are shooting with the flash on the camera and it was tilted vertically to your left then it would perfectly line up with that post and create the shadow.

09-17-2014, 11:32 PM
Thank you for your reply. I was a bit hasty with my post. I am not familiar with the site and am a bit antsy due to the short time I have till my trip.
Again, I appreciate your help and advice.


09-17-2014, 11:33 PM
It was an epiphany for this newbie photographer. Thank you for the reassurance.

09-17-2014, 11:35 PM
I will try to tweak the sync speed. I rarely use the flash being mostly into landscape photography. Thank you for the advice.

09-17-2014, 11:36 PM
Thank you for the help. I am pretty sure that was the issue now. Take care.

09-17-2014, 11:37 PM
I appreciate it mbrager. It all makes sense. I got a bit worried by the Nikon reply.

09-26-2014, 05:17 PM
Instead of advice I am going to say thanks. It is easy to forget a focal plane shutter can cause that effect. Even back to days of film I had the odd picture with odd effect which I could not explain.

10-05-2014, 03:24 AM
Just had a similar effect. In my case a hair on the sensor. Problem is it moves each time camera is switched on so hard to work out if removed or not.