I have a Nikon D50. Has worked great up to now. I was taking pictures when it would no longer perform. When I touch the shutter release F- - shows up in the top right hand corner of my display. At the time there were 113 actual images in the camera but in the lower right hand corner it showed 985. I came home down loaded my images hoping F- - meant full or some such nonsense. No such luck.
The flashing F-- is addressed on page 123 of your users manual. My camera was also doing that and it was very frustrating. The lens is not being read by the camera. Try cleaning the contacts in the lens and camera body. In my case I had dropped my camera from a very short distance, but it was enough to make the lens not seat right in the body. Have to buy a new lens. Go to a camera shop and switch out the lens and see if it works...mine did. Problem solved.
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The imaging board is one of the two boards on the bottom of the camera. however, black images are usually a result of a bad image sensor itself (the 'CCD'), and the cost to replace that is far more than what your camera is now worth (if it is even still available)
Press MENU and select the pencil icon to get to the Custom Settings Menu. First select the "Detailed" mode under Menu > Setup (wrench) Menu > CSM menu, otherwise you'll only to get the first few items! [R] Menu Reset: This returns everything below to factory default.
After a bit of experimenting, I have found a solution that works in my case. The problem was the shutter speed. At 1/200 I got the black line on the bottom of my pictures, but when I tried it at or below 1/100 it was gone. Hope this helps.
I have a D50 as well but never experienced this problem. One thing to check as you already mentioned are the metal connections between the lens and the camera body. Make sure they're clean and shiny. Another thing to try would be switching between AF and MF modes on the lens itself.
I have this problem too - Nikon have looked at the camera and said I set up a custom setting so that the focus only works when you press the AE/AF Button (!). I also had a problem with the flash not working - its looking like this is a known problem. I think I was sold a Turkey