How to fix blinking “Err” error on new Nikon DSLR cameras

So you got yourself a brand new DSLR and after using it for a little while got the dreaded “Err” error on your camera LCD? Fear not, your camera might not damaged and there might be no need to return it back to Nikon, as they suggest in most camera manuals.

The reason why this error comes up, is because your camera is not properly communicating with your lens due to some dirt and grease both on camera and lens contacts. The solution is pretty simple – all you have to do is dismount your lens and clean the lens contacts, then clean camera contacts and mount the lens back on the camera and see what happens. Sounds too complicated? Are you afraid to damage your camera and/or lens? Then keep reading, because I will show you exactly what needs to be done.

So here is the step-by-step process:

  1. Dismount camera lens – before you remove the lens, make sure that you are doing this in a clean environment indoors. I prefer to do it at night (when kids are sleeping) in the bathroom :) If you have not dismounted a lens from your camera yet, now is the time to learn. Turn off your camera. Press the lens release button located to the left of the lens when the camera is viewed from the top, then rotate the lens clock-wise to dismount the lens as shown here. Right after the lens is dismounted, put the black plastic camera cap back on the camera lens mount to prevent dust from getting into the camera.
  2. Clean lens contacts – there are many different cleaning solutions out there, but I would recommend the following approach: first, wash your hands with soap and dry them out. Next, put some denatured alcohol (ethanol) on dry, light-colored microfiber cloth, wrap it around your index finger and gently wipe each lens contact in circular motion without touching the glass on the back of the lens. Here is how the contacts look like on the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens:
    Nikon 50mm f/1.4G contacts

    If you can see dirt or grease on the microfiber cloth, repeat the above process again using the cleaner part of the cloth. Once you are done cleaning the contacts, use the Giottos Rocket Blower to blow away any particles your microfiber cloth could have left on the lens.

  3. Clean camera contacts – remove the black cap from the camera lens mount, then use the clean portion of the same microfiber cloth and gently wipe the camera contacts, just like you did with the lens contacts. Here is how the contacts on the camera look like:
    Nikon D700 Front Contacts

    Hold your index finger with your nails facing down and while holding the microfiber cloth, move from left to right and vice-versa several times. Repeat the process one more time with the cleaner part of the cloth to make sure that there is no dirt/grease left on the camera contacts. Make sure to do this rather quickly to prevent dust from entering the camera chamber.

  4. Mount lens back on the camera – once all contacts are clean, align the dot on the camera with the dot on the lens and fully mount the lens in counter-clockwise direction.
  5. Test and make sure that the “Err” message is gone – now turn the camera on and take a few pictures. The “Err” message on the camera should be gone!

What if you are still getting the “Err” message? Try another lens and see what happens. If nothing changes, your camera could be damaged, so call Nikon for support.


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Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Morten

    Hi Nasim,

    I really like your blog posts and follwer your every word… ;-)
    Just want to add that this might be the general tip in most cases, but with I got my Nikon D90 with 18-105 kit lens this error came up about every 10 shot or so even after doing the recommended action. My only choice was to take it back to Nikon service shop, where they changed the communication contacts on the lens and that actually corrected the issue for me. I am NOT saying that this is the case for everyone, but it was for me.

    Br,

    /Morten Denmark

    • Morten, thank you for your feedback! It is definitely good to know that people might encounter this error due to bad connections on the lens itself. I will add some text in the article to try another lens…

      Have a great weekend!

    • 23
      ) Jame

      Hi Nasim, I had this camera own by my niece, its nikon d60, the subject are too dark even when i see through the viewfinder, its is very dark..even in broad daylight…it has nikon kit lens attach with it the 18-55mm, i thought i was the lens, then i change and use other lens..still the same..

      what do you think is the problem ?

      Thank you
      Jame Brunei

  2. 4
    ) Dennis

    Thanks for sharing. What I encountered is on & off. Most of the time don’t have, but once in a while it happened. Didn’t know it have to do with contacts.

    • Dennis, so you were getting the “Err” message while turning the camera on & off?

      • 5
        ) Dennis

        Nasim, apology for the misleading. What I meant was the occurrence that I encounter the err problem is in infrequent. Now that I know what to look out for if I ever see this err message again.

        Dennis

        • Ah, I see :) Well, if it happens to you again, try the above steps and let me know how it works out :)

  3. 7
    ) TK

    I had the same problem and cleaning the contacts did not help. I tried briefly removing the battery and card as well, no success. Then I removed them both and waited for about 20 minutes, put them back in place, I had the Err message for a few more seconds then eventually it cleared out and I was able to use my D80 again. Hope it helps .

    • TK, that’s strange, but thanks for letting us know!

  4. Thank you so much. This totally helped. Just wanted to add that after i cleaned the lens connectors and turned it back on, it still flashed ERR, but with one press of the shutter release, it was all good. Seems to be good now!

  5. 10
    ) TS

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks a lot for this excellent piece of advice. It just saved me from sending away my D3s on service. One funny detail that added to the confusion: The two lenses that needed cleaning (AF-S 85/1.4 and 50/1.4G) worked well on my D7k even before they were cleaned.

  6. 11
    ) Ann Pacana

    Hi Nasim,

    I bought my D7000 from the US and brought it to the Philippines, after a couple of weeks use, the Err message appeared, i was freaking out like crazy, imagine the cost to send it back to US.. good thing i googled solutions about the Err message. I did the steps last night, and waited this morning to turn it on praying that the Err message is gone. It is as good as before, all 3 lenses worked good on it… thank you.

  7. 12
    ) Wes Hull

    Thanks for the step by step. Just purchased a used Tamron 18-270 to run on my D90.
    Was dissappointed as the lens would function and then not at all. It occurred to me that contacts needed to be cleaned. Will update with the results.

    • 13
      ) Andrea crosta

      Hallo.i also have the same problem but also when i turn on the camera without the lens on. So i imagine it is not a contact problem or could be the same?
      thank you
      andrea

  8. 14
    ) Andrea crosta

    Hallo.I also have the same probkem but also when I turn on the camera without the lens on. Same error message appears. Can this be a contscts problem again?
    Thank you
    andrea

    • Andrea, give a call to Nikon and see what they have to say…the error should not come up without a lens.

  9. 15
    ) Craig

    I have a Nikon D80 (2yrs old) and has an imagine and symbols when looking thru the viewfinder that won’t go away no matter what reset option i use (on menu, 2 button, or factory reset).
    In bottom left I get the B/W, battery meter, and no disk symbols all the time. Page 6 in manual shows all these. I set camera to normal mode (not B/W), I even put a fresh charged battery in, and I have a disk in that I know is formatted and works fine.
    I went to the menu and turned “off” the viewfinder warning and it still shows up. Hmmmm, any help besides sending it in.
    Oh ya, I can take pics but this image (which flashes red as I press the shutter) makes it hard to see the image thru viewfinder.

    • Craig, sounds like an electronic problem – I recommend sending your camera to Nikon for repair.

  10. 18
    ) zaimee

    Looks like having the same problem. Mine are may be a worst. I wasnt used my d80 for a couple of month
    But when i on the camera get err blinking…i can using the menu on the screen
    ..also having a problem with flash button. It wont release the flash.
    Then when i tried to viewing pic…it shows a message not contain a folders.

    Trying to avoid services to nikon…cost a lot a money i guest….do anyone facing the same problem?

  11. 19
    ) Caetano Sauer

    Hello, I would like to share my experience with the “Err” message as well. When I removed the lens, I noticed that the mirror was stuck halfway, so that the viewfinder would display only half of the scene. To solve it, I put the lens back on, turned off the autofocus using the manual switch and pressed the shutter release. It made a weird sound, but after that it was good to go again!

    • 28
      ) MartinS

      Thanx! You save my day!

  12. 20
    ) William

    Thank you so much for posting this.

    I followed your steps and it worked perfectly. I am back shooting with my main camera again.

    Thank you

  13. 21
    ) Frank

    The Err message popped up on my d7000 today. I did everything, changed sd cards, lenses, charged the battery, let it sit, and now cleaned all the contacts like you say. I even get the message when there is no lens attached. The shutter fully clicks still and is not stuck. I called Nikon and they wouldn’t give me any info unless I send it in. Hopefully they cover it, my one year warrenty expired 6 days ago. I’m going to try it again in the morning.

  14. 22
    ) Marco

    My “Err” message started to show on a D3s after the camera has been at Nikon for cleaning etc.
    It happens ONLY for few seconds and just for frame. It only happens when I switch on the Camera (if the Camera has been off for at least 30 min or more)
    very odd!

  15. I have a 2 year old Nikon D80, never had any problem w/it until a friend broke my lense recently.

    I went to a very respectable camera repair shop and he recommended just replacing the 18 -135 mm lense with an used but practically new lense for the same cost as the repair.

    3 weeks later I am getting the flashing err sign for the 1st time.

    I am traveling so I can not take the lense to him to look at and all of your suggestions seem to work until I actually push the flash button. Then the err symbol returns!

    any thoughts other than returning the lense once I return back to my city (in 2 months)?

    thanks Stevens

    • 25
      ) Eric

      Any thoughts? I can put my 24-70 on many cameras and stop down and it works fine. I can also use my D300s with any lens stopped down, but if I put the 24-70 on the D300s I get th “err” message. This is the only combo I have an issue with

  16. 26
    ) marcial naag jr.

    ive also got 2yr old nikon d90 w/ Err blink. i tried your advises (cleaned cpu/lens contacts, change lens, replaced sdcard and battery) but for naught. when half pressed the Err appears but when the shutter completes, the picture did not register w/ my sdcard. any further recommendations prior to an authorized nikon service center? big tnx.

  17. 27
    ) David Hilos

    If there’s an ERR problem even without a lens, problem could be due to poor contact in the switch attached to the gear. The switch works to inform the microprocessor the position of the gear, while the gear actually drives/charges the mirror and shutter. Without signal from the switch, the microprocessor is unable to detect the charging status.

    I have fixed some D80s and posted some pictures in this link.
    A lot of dismantling so not advisable for first timers

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/nikon/1072407-fixing-nikon-d80-err-problem.html

  18. 29
    ) pii

    my d70 can’t do it.. the err messages always blinked in my lcd :( need more help. I’m from indonesia.. may be know for solutions for this problems. thanks

  19. 30
    ) shabbar ahmed

    thanks nasim, looks like my error msg is gone

  20. 31
    ) A

    Hi
    I have D80 and i also cleaned the contact but still err still blinking.
    when i press shutter button there got a sound like motor is turning.
    the mirror stay at top, viewfinder dark.
    Pls help.

  21. 32
    ) Kristen Watters

    This is really true. I have tried putting on the lense of my camera and it turned out to be an error, because the sensor was not properly in contact with the cameras sensor. DSLR cameras are really fun to play with. You can have wonderful pictures if you only knew how to set the dials.

  22. 33
    ) Nebojsa

    I had problem same with my D80, cleaning contacts didn’t help. I took camera in Nikon authorized service, and they fix it. It cost me about 100 euros :(

  23. 34
    ) jalal

    Hi all i got a problem with my nikon d90 i should trick 2 times on the buttom to capture the picture and even i got an err on the screen and the picture is very nice but with black on the top of the picture i tryied to clean the lens and the camera house but doesent help even reset my camera setting still got the same proble any one can help me what to do thx a lot

  24. 35
    ) jalal

    its me again i noticed it the mirror in the camera its getting up while taking a picture but not returning down till the secound trick any advice or help how to fix that :)

  25. 36
    ) Beth

    Can’t thank you enough. I have not used my D90 camera much since I got it (had 2 kids, work full time etc) and I keep it in my case and baby it. I could not believe it when I got the error. After much stress, I found your recommendation, spent the $15 to buy the products and it worked! I am soooooooooooo happy. Thank you for taking the time to help us newbies! :)

  26. 37
    ) William

    Greetings!
    If you’ve cleaned the contacts and still have the problem, turn the dial to rapid fire continuous burst mode, point the camera at a bright light and hold down that button till you ramble off a good 500 shots. If it doesn’t want to stay in continuous mode, try taking the lens off paying careful attention too keeping things seriously clean and try again. Now, did it fix the Err error? If so, you have a shutter problem, an issue Nikon is well aware of. Your camera might very well go another 5 years before the error shows up again. If it didn’t stop that error, send it in for repairs.

    • 57
      ) Chris W. Patton

      I tried this with my lens off and it stopped automatically after about 50 shots. I put my lens back on and got a regular reading. Took a shot, it captures my monitor and this page, then it went back to error. There is some merit to this continous shot action. I will research the operation of the shutter and it’s electrical signal, as mentioned by David Hilos, pointed out earlier.

  27. 38
    ) JR

    I’ve just mounted my old, but trusty, 28-105mm f3.5-4.5D on my D600 and I get the dreaded “ERR” but only when I shoot at apertures between f8 and f22. I cleaned the contacts on both lens and camera and the error persists. I’ve tested three other lenses: 16-35 f4, 80-200 f2.8 and 50mm f1.4 and they all function fine and all apertures.

    The last time I used the 28-105mm it worked fine and I used it indoors. Nowhere near any dust or any other contaminents. I suppose it was time for this old guy to give up. I’ve owned dozens of lenses over my photography life and this is the third lens that’s failed on me: two Canons(one an L lens) and now this Nikkor. Never had any problems with my Pentax MF lenses or any of my LF lenses.

    Interestingly, once it fails with the “ERR” after moving to f8 or smaller aperture, if I go back to, say, f5.6 or f3.5, I still get the error. Yet, if I re-start the body and start shooting with the lens at the larger apertures, there’s no error; until I move to f8 or smaller. I don’t think that it’s an aperture blade issue; they look fine. It’s something else; perhaps the contact/s or the contact strip is damaged internally?

    I suppose the next question is whether or not this merits fixing. The lens can’t cost more than $200-250 on Ebay. How much will it cost to get this problem fixed? Not worth it!

    • 55
      ) Tony

      Having similar problem with my d600 and my 85mm lens. Did you get the problem fixed? Can you tell me what Nikon did? Thanks

  28. 39
    ) JR

    WOH!!!!

    If you’re a D600 owner, sit down before reading this :-(

    While playing around with the aforemetioned 28-105mm f3.5-4.5D I noticed that other lenses were over exposing by TWO STOPS! BUT………the overexposure was only happening at f8 or smaller f-stops! That happens to be the SAME f-stop where the 28-105mm begins throwing the “ERR” message.

    Hmmm……..coincidence? I don’t think so.

    The lenses that are overexposing: Nikkor 16-35mm F4, 80-200 F2.8 and the 50mm f1.4.

    I found this blog “Some Nikon D600 DSLRs Not Closing to the Apertures They’re Supposed To”: http://www.petapixel.com/2012/12/06/some-nikon-d600-dslrs-not-closing-to-the-apertures-theyre-supposed-to/

    Lo and behold, my D600 exhibits this SAME problem! (although the shutter mechamism on mine looks to be intact and not bent). The shutter does not close to the appropriate aperture.

    For instance, if I set ANY of the aforementioned lenses to Aperture priority and choose f11@1250 they will overexpose as if though I were shooting at 5.6@1250. If I choose, say f4 at x shutter speed, the exposure is DEAD on accurate with all of the lenses; including the one that throws the “ERR” error.

    When I press the depth of field button the aperture is NOT f11, but 5.6!!! This tells me that the shutter is off by TWO STOPS!

    Am I late to the party and only finding out what others have known about the D600′s shutter issue?

  29. 40
    ) Deanna

    I have two Nikon’s that keep giving me this Err message on it. First I noticed it in my D700, then my D90, which I’ve had for a few years with no problems. I freaked sending my D700 in for repair, spending 300 bucks, just to get it back not fixed. Then the D90 started doing it too, and thought maybe it was my new lens (28-70 2.8). I had the contact lens on it cleaned with an eraser. However that didn’t fix it. Now somebody is saying it could be my card reader that is corrupting both my memory cards. So I used my laptop to read the files, and formatted it. So far it’s ok, but it’s so off and on I don’t know when it could mess up again. I really don’t want to go to Cannon but soooo tempted. Anyone know what could be causing this error????

    • 41
      ) William

      Deanna, see my post above.

      • 42
        ) Deanna

        That scared me when i read that there is a shutter issue with Nikon’s. I’ve not had a problem with my D90 until I got my D700 and my new lens.

  30. 43
    ) Trevor Hughes

    Hi please to find info on this problem.
    This is happening to, I have been using non cpu lens then I thought I get a Af 28-105 mm Nikon.
    in auto just find no Err but after trying out A/ s priority I get this Err coming up most of the time.
    any Ideas.
    thanks for your thoughts
    Trevor

    • 44
      ) William

      Trevor….did you read the comments? I addressed it above.

      • Lots to understand there but I think I found some thing it’s just the camera say hey you are useing the wrong setting in a nice way :)
        as when I stay in the 3.5 to 4.5 I don’t have a issue, saying that the camera will only let me go to 4 and 5
        but no Err. that only happens when I go outside what the lens is recommended to be set as .
        Can I be right there?

  31. 46
    ) Pat

    I am having terrible problems with err message on my D200. I have spent three hundred and thirty pounds getting it repaired with Nikon but alas one week after it was returned, the err message reappeared. I have a D70 as well but never experienced any problems. Having read all the postings on the Internet it is obvious that Nikon haven’t a clue how to resolve this problem. You shouldn’t have to go through any procedures to try and solve the problem, i.e. taking battery out etc. The camera should work, they are expensive pieces of equipment. I had three Nikon cameras prior to the digital age and they were much
    More reliant. I am sick of Nikon at this stage. Just couldn’t afford to change all my lenses etc.
    Pat

  32. 47
    ) Ty

    Thank you! I was freaking out, and now everything is fine. It worked perfectly! The step by step instructions and great photos were extremely helpful!

    Ty

  33. 48
    ) Mike S

    I also am having overexposure issues with the Nikon D600. An error message occurs. The resulting image is overexposed by two to three stops. This has occurred with several lenses. It does not appear to occur with my 24-120mm VRII lens. The f-stop does not seem to matter. The problem does not appear to occur in the P mode. It does occur in all the other modes I have tried. Recently, this error message has occurred with my new 16-35mm VRII Nikon lens. Clearly, the camera is the problem.

    It should be noted my D600 has never been dropped or damaged. I did rent a D600 for a recent trip, and the same problem occurred with my new Nikon 70-200mm f4 lens.

    I am shipping my camera back to Nikon for repairs or replacement. Clearly, I am NOT the only one with this problem.

    Mike

  34. 49
    ) Avinash

    HI Nasim Mansurov,

    Off late when i see through my view finder i spot kind of dirt , tiny thread kind of stuff.
    Cleaned my lens but it did not remove those things.

    Should i un mount the lens and clean the sensor/mirror or guide me what should i do for the same.

  35. 50
    ) Eswaran

    My Nikon D7000 is 3 months old and 15oo clicks. Suddenly I saw Error message was popping up :-(. Couldn’t see anything from viewfinder and from LCD display. Changing lens didn’t help and I didn’t clean anything. Just pressed shutter release button and it started working. I was worried but now my worry is when it(THE ERROR) will be back????

  36. 51
    ) Webgraf

    Hi!
    Don’t forget to format memory card!
    If you use memory card reader you can expect sometimes that you got no err. message on D90, but display will blinking with status of battery, and you can not make shot. What to? Format your card and error will disappear!

  37. 52
    ) O. Lee

    Just got back from an assignment in Mongolia! The cold was rather challenging at times, and after spending 10min outside in –15C I noticed a number of blank (black) frames when shooting. All sound and operation was normal, but the image was just black.

    The top LCD also displayed ‘ERR’ (error). I suspect either the contacts between the lens, the aperture leaver on the mount or the aperture blades on the lens (Sigma 70-200). A little later the D300 I also used (with the Nikon 17-55) also had this problem. Switching the camera off and on again, seemed to fix it, but only temporarily. Rather annoying, but not sure about the solution. Didnt work for me initially, so I suspect that it may have something to do with the cold, as I had some problem in -25C before, where the mirror didnt return down, unless I took the camera into the warm for 5min or so…

    Both cameras work fine now, but I had this problem intermittently for the rest of the day (affecting about 10% of the pictures). Just thought I mention it to you, in case you know a remedy or cause. And perhaps to let you know in case you never heard about it.

  38. I cleaned the lens and body, no luck, removed battery swapped lens, no luck, tock out the memory cards and it worked? Maybe it was a combination of all the above, so wanted to say thanks.

  39. Thank you legend!

  40. 56
    ) Anand

    I am in Bangalore, India. Couple of months back I got this error in my D7000, a 3 yrs old camera. When I took it to nikon service center they said that the ‘Mirror Unit’ had to be replaced. I did it. Now after a couple of months the same error appears and the service center is suggesting that the Shutter unit has to be replaced. I don’t know whether these people are properly identifying the issue.

    When the ERR appeared the first time I tried with different lenses though. It did not help. I did not know about the cleaning the camera-lens contacts technique.

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