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How to Fix ‘Nikon Lens Not Attached’ Error

If you have this problem you might be wondering what to do when you see the ‘lens not attached’ error message on your Nikon camera.

If you get this issue then you are not able to use automatic settings to take pictures.

There could be a variety of reasons why this is occurring from mechanical issue to compatibility issues. 

The most common fault tends to be that the lens is just not attached correctly or there is a dirty contact which stops your lens from communicating with your Nikon camera.

Here’s what to do if your Nikon camera gets the error message of ‘lens not attached’:

1. Check Compatibility

Before doing anything it’s best to double check whether your lens is compatible with your camera body. 

Your instruction manual should have information regarding this.

If you are sure your lens is compatible and should be working as normal then move on to the next step.

We’ve included some links at the bottom of this article if you want to double check if your lens is compatible with your Nikon camera.

2. Make Sure The Camera Is Turned Off.

Turn off the camera before doing the next steps.

3. Make Sure That The Lens Is Attached Properly.

If the lens is not attached properly then the contacts that allow communication with the camera body won’t align correctly.

You should normally hear a click sound when the lens is attached correctly.  

Here’s a video showing you how to detach or reattach a Nikon lens properly.

4. Inspect The Metal Contacts On The Lens.

The metal contacts/pins (also called CPU contacts) are used to communicate with the camera body.

You can see what they look like in the image below.

Nikon Lens Metal Contacts

Check to see if there is any dirt, grime, damage etc.

Also check to see if any of the pins seem to not be aligned in the same way as the rest. 

They may have adjusted and got stuck in an incorrect position due to a mechanical issue.

5. If The Lens Contacts Are Not Visibly Damaged Or Misaligned, Move On To Step 6.

If the lens contacts are visibly damaged or misaligned then your lens probably needs to be repaired at a Nikon service center.

Check out the following link for details on Nikon servicing and repairs.

6. Clean The Metal Contacts/Pins

If there is any visible dirt or grime you should try to clean the lens contacts or take your equipment somewhere to be cleaned like a camera repair shop or Nikon service center.

If you want to try to clean the contacts yourself we’ve included some basic instructions below.

Always take extreme care when doing this as the contacts are delicate. 

We have some tips to keep in mind further below.

How To Clean Metal Contacts on Lens: 

When cleaning the contacts it is recommended to use a general cleaning fluid such as a surgical spirit/rubbing alcohol.

Below is an example of what you could use.

Isopropyl alcohol is commonly used to clean electronic equipment due to it’s characteristics.

You can use a cotton swab with the isopropyl alcohol to gently clean the contacts. 

Remember to put the cleaning solution onto the cotton swab and don’t just pour the solution onto your lens.

You can also use a camera cleaning kit to help you and they are handy in general to keep your equipment clean.

This camera cleaning kit includes a lens cleaning solution as well as cleaning swabs. 

Pour a small amount of the cleaning solution onto one of the cleaning swab sticks and gently wipe the contacts with the swab. 

Things to note while cleaning:

  • Avoid dusty environments during cleaning. Re-attach the lens after cleaning or use lens/body caps to reduce dust.

  • Do not touch the lens surface.

  • When cleaning the lens, do not allow dust or debris to get inside the camera body or the lens.

  • When cleaning the contacts, wipe gently to avoid putting pressure on the contacts.

  • Do not use a pencil eraser.

  • Do not use any water.

We’ve included two videos at the bottom of this post to visually help you.

If you are worried or nervous then do not try to clean the contacts yourself as you do need to be careful not to damage them.

Just take your equipment to a camera repair shop or a Nikon service center.

7. Reattach The Lens. 

By now you should have made sure there is no damage to the contacts and that they are clean.

Reattach the lens and remember to make sure it is securely attached. Listen out for the ‘click’.

8. Check If Lens Is Now Working

If the lens is now working then the lens should be fixed and the issue was just some dirty contacts. 

You may need to clean the lens every so often as they will become dirty over time from general use.

If the lens is still not working then move on to step 9.

9. Try Another Lens

If you have another lens try to use this lens and see if the error message comes up.

If the error message comes up only on one of your lenses then you know that the issue is the lens and not the camera body. 

If a different lens works then it is your lens that is the problem. 

If you don’t have a spare lens then try to get a nearby camera repair shop to test it out for you.

If the alternate lens also doesn’t work then it is likely that the camera body has a problem and may require servicing.

Either way you will want to get your lens or camera body repaired at a Nikon service center since cleaning was not enough.

You can find more details about servicing your Nikon equipment at the following link:

Further Resources

Checking for compatibility of Nikon lenses


For Mirrorless Nikon cameras


Below are two videos that show you different ways of cleaning the contacts on your lens.

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