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If you are taking pictures in low-lighting conditions without flash, then the pictures will appear grainy. Set the ISO to a lower number (try ISO-100 to start with) and use the flash to compensate for low-light conditions.
This should improve the grainy appearance of your photos.
personally i don't think its battery related problem,all you need to do is to set the camera in a continuos shooting mode and set the lens in the auto focus mode.(you should have enough space on the memory card and the battery should not be too low)
are you shooting in raw format? and in hi resolution or low resolution ?
If you are shooting in RAW then the buffer of the d100 is full and it needs to empty its buffer before you can shoot anymore pictures
Sounds like you are set in ISO AUTO. This will change your ISO when you are in light that is low enough to give underexposure. In most of the shooting modes, the D100 will change shutter and/or aperature to prevent underexposure, but if it can't avoid the underexposure, it will change the ISO to correct the underexposure.
It also sounds like you have a low light shooting situation. The blur you see is likely from the long exposure, which is pretty hard to hand hold. Noise in the picture would be from the high ISO, but if it's a noise problem you probably don't have blur.
Avoiding the blur is best done with a tripod or a shutter speed of at most 1/60. If you can't get a good exposure at 1/60 or faster, then try the tripod. If you can't use a tripod, then let the ISO (in auto) go up to 1600 and then remove the noise with photoshop or another photo editor. You'll have to play around with the noise reduction settings to get one that works for you.
The key to low light photos is to make sure you get an exposure that isn't blurred, even if you have to use a high ISO. It's easy to remove the noise in software, but blurry photos can't be fixed.
Chances are good that it's not your camera, but your lens. In a darker atmosphere, you need a fast lens, meaning you need a lens that has a wide aperture (1.4 to 2.8) I'm guessing you're using a lens thats' 3.5 or larger. (Yes, the larger apertures have the smaller numbers)
If your camera was spending all it's time moving in and out trying to focus, it's probably because there was not enough light for the camera to distinguish a focal point. Same thing happens when you shoot a solid blue sky. No focal point.
Help me understand by telling me what lens you're using and what settings you were using on the camera.
When you say you tried full manual, I just wanted to check that you also switched to manual focus? The D100 has a switch on the right side of the lens, says M, S, C, for manual, single, or continuous focus? You need that in M with a painting like that, or to should truly diffuse subjects like clouds or fog.
The reason it works fine with only part of the painting in frame is that the camera can then identify and focus on the edge of the painting. It could also focus on any painting with linear or sharp detail. Autofocus is rather clever, but not clever enough!
If you had indeed set manual focus, then I admit I'm stumped. Full manual mode with manual focus never refuses to trigger the shutter on my D70; although it does often take pictures I don't understand at first. :) Good luck -- let us know what you find out, please!