Nikon DSLR Error Messages

An error message showing up on a camera is no fun and it can get frustrating when it happens. All modern Nikon DSLRs such as Nikon D3000, D5000, D40/D40x, D60, D80, D90, D200, D300/D300s, D700, D3, D3s and D3x display specific error messages when certain problems occur, to guide photographers in troubleshooting and fixing the problem. In this short article, I will go through each of the error codes and explain what needs to be done to get the problem resolved.

Blinking “Err” message

When you see a blinking “Err” message on the back or top LCD, it means that there is some sort of camera malfunction. It does not necessarily mean that the camera is bad though. This error shows up fairly frequently on new Nikon DSLR cameras that have oily contacts from the manufacturing process, which you can easily take care of yourself. All you need to do is dismount your lens, then use a clean cloth to clean contacts both on the lens and DSLR. If you want to find out how to do it in details, check out my “How to fix blinking ERR error on new Nikon DSLR cameras” article.

If you have tried cleaning the contacts and the problem did not go away, try taking the camera battery out and putting it back in. If the problem persists, contact Nikon for further support – your camera might be damaged.

Blinking “fEE” message

This error only shows up when you use an older lens such as Nikon 50mm f/1.4D with an aperture ring and the lens aperture is not set to the minimum aperture. When you change lenses, you might accidentally rotate the aperture ring on the lens, which would trigger the error. The solution is to set the lens aperture to the largest f-number (minimum aperture) such as f/16 and lock it in place so that the aperture ring does not accidentally get changed again. Check out this article from Nikon on the same subject.

A triangle with the letter “F”

If you see a small triangle with the letter F by itself, it means that the camera cannot detect the lens. If you have the lens mounted, make sure that the lens is properly attached and locked. Try detaching and reattaching the lens and the error should go away.

Continuous (-E-) Message

This just means that you do not have a memory card in the camera. If you are sure that you have a memory card inserted, try taking it out and putting it back in and see what happens. Try another card. If the message persists, it could mean that memory card contacts within your DSLR are bent or damaged, so you will have to send your camera to Nikon for repair.

Blinking “CHA/CHR” Message

This error indicates that there is a problem with your memory card. 90% of the time, this error shows up when people copy images from their memory cards and then delete images, instead of formatting the card. Deleting images without formatting the memory card is a bad idea and many DSLR cameras will eventually have problems writing to those cards. The best thing to do is to format the memory card inside the camera instead of formatting it on a PC or Mac. If you do not know how to format a memory card inside your camera, see your camera manual for instructions. On many of the current DSLRs like D90, you can accomplish this by depressing two buttons simultaneously for several seconds: the trashcan (on the back) and the meter button (on the top). Once the word “FOR” shows up on the top LCD and starts blinking, you need to press both buttons again to format the card. You can also format the memory card through camera menu.

If you have formatted your memory card and the camera is still showing this message, then your memory card is probably not properly seated (in which case try taking it out and putting it back in) or the contacts are dirty. Also, try not to use non-approved cards on your DSLR – it could be that the memory card is not supported by your DSLR. If you have tried everything and you are still getting the same error, then there is either a contact problem inside the camera, or your memory card is damaged.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) NikJ
    June 11, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Nasim – Thanks for the tip on LR3′s release the other day. I and a friend both downloaded the new program that evening. Good to have you on watch!

    I have been deleting all images after I download to my computer. I see now that I need to format my memory card often. Since reading your post I checked a number of other sources, and one basic answer evades me. Do I format the memory card instead of deleting all images after a download? Do I skip the “delete all images” step?
    And, a question related to that: When would I use the “delete all images” option? Thanks

    • June 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      NikJ, you are most welcome!

      Yeah, skip the deleted all images step and make it a habit of formatting the card every time you put it back into your DSLR – that way you will always be safe against possible errors.

      Hope this helps :)

  2. 2
    ) sm
    June 11, 2010 at 11:21 am

    hi Nik,

    If you format, I don’t beleive you need to delete beforehand. Also prefer formatting your cards rather than deleting.

    • June 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm

      SM, I agree :) Formatting is always better than deleting.

  3. 5
    ) Rajesh Indalkar
    July 10, 2010 at 3:48 am

    In my Nikon D-40 when I insert memory card camera showing nomemory card. I removed the card & formated the card still getting same errror
    Waht will be the solution pls guide us

    • July 17, 2010 at 1:54 am

      Rajesh, your memory card might be damaged. Try inserting it into a card reader if you have it on your PC or laptop and see if it reads it. If it does, then it could be a problem with your camera…

      Either way, try another card to make sure.

  4. 7
    ) jo
    October 15, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Gear: Nikon D90

    Mode: Shutter Priority, show
    Error msg “Job nr”

    Anyone ever got that msg and what is it all about?

    • October 22, 2010 at 1:49 am

      Jo, I have never seen that error before. Have you tried calling Nikon for support?

    • November 27, 2010 at 8:21 am

      Jo, what is the shutter speed and ISO you are using when getting this message? Job nr is not an error message and just means the camera is performing noise reduction on the photo you’ve just taken. It flashes on the screen until it has completed the process, and whilst it is doing so the camera locks up. So check your noise reduction settings, as you may have noise reduction OR long exposure noise reduction on without knowing it.

      If you are getting the ‘job nr’ flash up without even taking an image then there might be a more serious problem and a visit to Nikon might be in order.

      • December 7, 2010 at 7:22 pm

        Richard, thanks for your recommendation! Since his message said “Error msg”, I thought it was some kind of error on the camera. I believe you are right – he is probably just not waiting long enough for NR to complete and he is probably shooting at very high ISO values.

      • 24
        ) Leslie
        January 5, 2013 at 11:08 pm

        I have had this same problem with my camera while taking long-exposure photos, i was just wonder what is the normal amount of time that your camera should spend performing noise reduction? Also, would it effect the photo drastically if i turned my noise reduction setting off?

        • April 1, 2013 at 3:35 am

          Job nr is to do with noise reduction. On my D700, if I do a long exposure, the LENR setting performs what is called Dark Framing – an exposure of, say, 30 seconds is followed automatically by a 30 second Dark Frame (shutter closed). This frame captures the noise on the sensor. Once complete the Dark Frame and the original are summed together so that the noise is cancelled. Just access the Long Exposure Noise Reduction setting in the menu and switch to OFF – its OK, because if you Photoshop, then most of the noise can be treated there. A lot of the time, there is no real noise there. A corollary to this wait for Dark Framing – especially when bracketing – is that the timer timing the automatic focus can time-out, and a series of brackets might not complete. I have been left with so many dark brackets, the lighter ones failing to complete – I have had to learn the hard way! :) Set Automatic Focus Timeout to Infinity.

    • April 1, 2013 at 3:46 am

      Job nr is to do with noise reduction. On my D700, if I do a long exposure, the LENR setting performs what is called Dark Framing – an exposure of, say, 30 seconds is followed automatically by a 30 second Dark Frame (shutter closed). This frame captures the noise on the sensor. Once complete the Dark Frame and the original are summed together so that the noise is cancelled. Just access the Long Exposure Noise Reduction setting in the menu and switch to OFF – its OK, because if you Photoshop, then most of the noise can be treated there. A lot of the time, there is no real noise there. A corollary to this wait for Dark Framing – especially when bracketing – is that the timer timing the automatic focus can time-out, and a series of brackets might not complete. I have been left with so many dark brackets, the lighter ones failing to complete – I have had to learn the hard way! :) Set Automatic Focus Timeout to Infinity.

  5. 11
    ) Mond
    January 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I have had Err show up in my available exposures indicator on the top lcd on the nikon d90. When I initially got the camera, it never used to do that. However, after some time it began to show up and now does not go away. I have reformated the memory card, but I still get the error…

    What’s interesting is that I can take photos without any problem, and can transfer them to my computer without issues – so I ignored this error for the most part. Although, would love to know if it can be corrected so I can tell how many photos I can take…

  6. 13
    ) kathrina
    January 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I just bought my camera *d5000* a few days back and i knew only the basic. last night i used it and when i woke up and turned it on it says “cannot format memory card””. I panicked and took off the memory card and tried it on my laptop but then it won’t even recognize the card at all. I tried to format it but i am still getting the same error message which is “cannot format memory card, memory card maybe defected, insert another card” Do you think my camera has a problem or it is just my memory card. I’m really worried. Also i’m seeing the word “CHA”. Please help.

  7. 14
    ) Beverly C.
    March 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve had my D90 since Aug. 2010 and Dec. 2011 was the first time the D90 showed the ERR message. It has now shown that message about 4 times sporadically. I do change lenses frequently. Yesterday it happened again, after I changed lenses. Today after searching internet for possible problem/fix I read dpreview and Mr. Mansurov’s explanations. Feeling my problem was dirty connectors, I got out a new microfiber cloth and cleaned all lenses and camera connections. The one older lens 28-105 Af-D was the dirtiest of all (I bought it used in 2010) from local camera store. The cloth was very dirty! I will see if this cleaning resolves the ERR problems, and if so will clean more frequently. Thank you Nasim for your expert advise. I believe yours is the most reliable of all sites I’ve read. :) Well done on your website! Thank you very much!

  8. 15
    ) Vishal
    March 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Hi SIr,

    My camera it showing message CHR after half way i took photoshoots. When i plug in the memory card via pc still cant detect and also cant detect on camera. I have about 400 pictures on it and really love to get back since its my customers photoshoot pictures. Please advice how to restore the pictures back.

  9. 16
    ) Lee Newham
    May 18, 2012 at 9:13 am

    We had the blinking err message an our Nikon D90. It got worse over the coming months and eventually became unusable. We tried everything to make it work but nothing did so it was sent off for repair. Even the exposure didn’t seem to work and it resulted in a few wasted days research on projects.

    Trouble started at about 6 months. We took less then 1000 pictures on it but reported it just after 1 year. The repair cost almost £200.

    I am disappointed that a camera costing £650+ didn’t last a year, that nikon didn’t say ‘yes, we get a lot of these faults and we will fix it as a gesture of good will’.

    We do not recommend you buy this camera.

    So my next Camera will be a Canon.

  10. 17
    ) steve
    May 22, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Hi, hopefully you can help. I have a Nikon D3000 and unfortunately I dropped it last week, and now it shows the message ‘Lens not attached’ and can only take pics on manual, but the aperture is only set to f16, anyone help please?

    Many thanks

    • 23
      ) Adrian
      December 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Steve,
      I noticed your post was from a while back, did you ever figure out the problem? I just did the exact same thing with the same camera and am trying to figure out the best way to proceed. Same error and everything. Thanks

  11. 18
    ) ben
    July 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I have a nikon d80 I forgot it in the back of my suv for a week in 100 plus heat. Now I have a blinking err on top lcd. The mirror moves in side and make the shutter sound but I am not getting any pictures to the back lcd or memory card. Help!?

  12. 19
    ) Doug
    July 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I have a Nikon D800 coming up with an R28 error message. Pressing the shutter, the camera won’t fire. However, if you hold the shutter release button, it will take pictures after about a 3-second delay. A search of Nikon USA and the Internet comes up with nothing. Anybody seeing this error? Thanks!

    • 21
      ) Janet
      October 22, 2012 at 7:59 am

      Ben-
      I am having the same problems- I will turn on the D800 and it will not focus when I press shutter to shoot. Or, it will wildly go in and out of focus. Sometimes the buffer error r16 will appear in the control panel, but if I just turned it on, there was no buffering occurring then!?!
      Have you found a solution or did you have to send back to Nikon?

  13. 20
    ) Laura
    September 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I have a Nikon D60, and while I was using the camera, I got this error message “ERROR: Press shutter release button again” I did that and nothing happened. How do I fix it?

    • 32
      ) Charlotte
      September 24, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      I have the same problem too with my Nikon D 5100, Laura. I fell my dslr on the ground but it was inside the camera bag. When I look into the viewfinder eyepiece, the whole view in square(what I seen in viewfinder eyepiece) are moving and I couldn’t take any photos, it has the same error message as yours. Have you fix it?

  14. 22
    ) Lydia
    December 20, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Hi,
    I had this happen before & not sure how it got fixed. My Nikon D5000 turns on, battery okay, flash pop up but won’t take pictures. I see what I want to shoot, but what I see looks darker than normal. When I press down to take a picture, I see “r21″ pop up. The manual does not address this. I also see two flashing indicators: far right shows squgly arrow pointing down with question mark. And, in the middle there is a flashing plus sign with mini “ruler”. Please help!! Many thanks.

  15. 25
    ) Irina
    March 31, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Hi, my Nikon D700 is showing an r17 error code in the number of exposures remaining box and it is preventing the shutter release from being pushed down and therefore I cant take pictures… any help would be greatly received. Is it something wrong with the camera? Is it fixable?

    • April 1, 2013 at 3:43 am

      r17 is often to do with AF problems (automatic focus) – AF needs a great deal of contrast before it works. If you just have one unvarying color or surface, the AF struggles and fails to work. If that is the case r17 signifies that the buffer has space for 17 shots BUT is still awaiting your input – which has become impeded by the AF’s indecision. Many solutions have switch AF on and off, switch over to manual instead, make sure that when the camera is in manual mode that your lenses are set to manual as well – and vice versa – make sure that automatic modes are reflected in the setting on the lens too i.e. auto settings are on. Failing that, manually focus on an area that has real contrast, and then re-frame and refocus on the subject.

  16. 29
    ) William
    June 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I have a Nikon D1h and have used it for the last two years with both of my Nikkor lens faithfully. (Nikkor 35-105 manual / macro and a Nikkor 62mm 70-300 AF G) When I change lenses I often change the camera settings from manual to AF, for the most part because it is easier. I have used the AF G lens in manual mode with good results also.
    My issue is that lately I am getting an r40 message in both the top and viewfinder windows and the shutter will not trip.
    All other readings seem normal and on occasion snapping the battery out and back in allows me to shoot 3 to 5 more frames before I get the message again with the lock up.
    Any suggestions?

  17. 30
    ) Oliver
    July 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Aperture priority mode blinking on top LCD screen.

  18. 31
    ) roger
    September 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    the error “this memory card cannot be used card may be damaged insert another card”
    happens on both a nikon d300, and a nikon d800,
    never before has this message appeared, until i purchased a sigma 70-200/2.8 apo DG HSM lense,
    after using this lense the card error shows up, if I switch lenses to my nikkor 24-120/4 VRII things work fine, card is readable——seems to me this is an error with the lense connection to the mounting plate rather than an internal card read error-Just my two cents,
    Thanks,
    Roger

  19. October 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Just sent my D600 to Nikon to fix ERR message. It’s definitely not a problem with battery/lens/memory card contacts since I’ve tried everything in the book. I believe the ERR message is either an overheated sensor (which is not mine since I don’t use my D600 for video) or a faulty shutter mechanism. I am leaning towards the latter since we all see a lot of oil splatters on the D600 sensors. It may have been the shutter mechanism have dried up.

  20. 34
    ) Mei
    December 31, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Hi,
    My D3200 show sand timer pic/code on the screen, does it mean anything ? Is it something wrong with the camera ? How to fix it ? Thanks.

  21. 35
    ) Anindya Agrawal
    January 17, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Hi Nasim,
    I have Nikon D 70, on the viewfinder display,it’s showing the CHA error but on the control panel display,it’s showing CHh error. I formatted memory card, tried a new memory card but still the same error was displaying. What could be the possible reason ??

  22. 36
    ) John Phillips
    April 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I have a d600. When shooting, “r40″ comes up in the top display. Does anyone know what this means?

  23. April 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Thankyou very much for this advice, have been very worried for the last few hours after repeated error message after every couple of shots. Hasnt come back since cleaning. Thanks loads!

  24. 38
    ) Dan Looney
    May 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I have a Nikon D300 and got the CHA error also. My problem ended up being a bent pin in the card reader. I used my other good working Nikon 5100 camera and took a picture of the card reader pins. enlarged it and found that my far left top row pin was bent and touching the pin next to it. I found a small screw driver (one for fixing eye glasses) and pushed it back upright where it should be. Works fine now. Nikon would have charged lots and lots of dollars to do the same thing. I am glad I got away with an easy fix this time.

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