A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts

If you’ve ever wondered what a Nikon D700 looks like when completely disassembled, today’s your lucky day. Czech photographer Martin Kozák recently did a complete teardown with a ruined D700, and then snapped the still life photo seen above.

Kozák tells us that the camera belonged to photographer Honza Martinec, who took a bad step backwards while on a pier and fell into the water. The D700 and an attached Nikkor 70–200 f/2.8 VR II were hanging around his neck when he took the plunge.

Although they were only underwater for a couple of seconds, and although Martinec reacted swiftly by removing the battery and allowing the gear to completely dry, he discovered (after waiting a week) that the camera would no longer take pictures and the LCD screen was broken (focusing worked, though).

After sending the camera into his local Nikon repair center, Martinec learned that the repair would cost more than the price of a new D700. That’s when he decided to hand the camera off to Kozák for a teardown. After taking the camera apart, Kozák spent 1.5 hours arranging the main pieces into the arrangement seen above.

Kozák tells us that he found roughly 260 screws inside the camera. Here’s a picture of the screws and all the small parts:

Many of the parts were labeled with stickers containing QR Codes:

Here’s what the viewfinder’s information display bar looks like when it’s removed from the camera:

A closeup of the autofocus sensor:

The 12.1-megapixel full-frame sensor inside the camera:

A neat look at the shutter curtain. We see another QR Code and mechanical components that open and close the curtain:

You can find a larger version of the above “neatly arranged” photo here.

Update: More of these photos have been published over in the Czech photography magazine Foto.

Image credits: Photographs by Martin Kozák/FOTO and used with permission

  • Tor Ivan Boine

    “The 21-megapixel full-frame sensor inside the camera:” ups, typo ;)

    anyways, cool :)

  • Michael Zhang

    Good catch! Thanks Tor :)

  • Watkins

    12 megapixels. Not 21. :)

  • Adrian Staicu

    Sweet. Now when he gets bored, he has a big puzzle to solve. Just buy a new sensor to replace the old broken one. Let us know how much time it took to put it back.

  • brob

    can’t seem to get the QR codes to work.. wonder where they go?

  • Francois-Xavier De Ruydts

    Happy story:

    Almost exactly the same happened to me a year ago. I dropped my camera bag in a river with my D700 and the 24 – 70 2.8 mounted on it. It took me about a minute to reach the bag and, when I grabbed it, it was about to sink. Needless to say that both body and lens were soaked. I first put everything in the oven (50 degress centigrade) for a few hours but that didn’t change anything, it was just too wet. Then I decided to take the body apart carefully and clean and dry the inside. I removed enough components so that the hot air of my hair dryer would reach everywhere. Almost every component was wet. Once everything was dry, I cleaned the components with … a tooth brush. Many parts were corroded and there was some dust and other stuff (I guess the water wasn’t super clean) I put it back together after 3 days of drying and cleaning. It worked! I took thousands of photos since then, and brought it on big assignments, no problem! I did the same thing with the 24 – 70 and it worked too. Putting the lenses back together is a much trickier job though and getting the same sharpness as before took some effort. For those who want to give it a try: the 2 lenses at the front are ok to remove and put back, the back lens as well but I wouldn’t try the other ones.

    So, if this happens to you. Remove the battery ASAP and don’t try to take a photo (it won’t work and could destroy the camera), get a good set of micro screw drivers, get yourself the repair manual and follow it step by step. Remain organized (so that you can but it back together) and stop when it gets too complicated for your skills or gear at hand (at some point you have to do more complicated stuff like discharge the flash capacitor or unsold wires. I stopped before that.) I’m not a big DIY but I am very, very perseverant.

    Happy to give more info if anybody is interested.

  • Ian

    They will be used in the factory when assembling the camera, they won’t link to a web page or anything.

  • Honza Martinec

    Hi Francois,

    I´m the unlucky guy from the story:)..My D700 was about 2 seconds under water. After couple of days spent with drying I turned it on and it worked somehow, only some of buttons were not working so I thought it won’t be that bad..but till I get a message from Nikon repair center (after more then month) saying that chip was hit with water and repair will cost more then a new one. Similar was with 70-200/2.8 VRII, there was still some water inside after drying, focusing was working – slowly but working and repair was for 1.600 EUR.

    Best regards,

  • eric

    Was it Karma to take the photo with a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV?

  • francois

    Sorry to hear that man. Yeah I didn’t even try to contact Nikon, I knew I couldn’t afford it anyways. Those things are so fragile. My D700 wouldn’t work after the first dry. I reopened it, watched very carefully, noticed a very tiny tiny dust between 2 legs of a chip, removed it and that did the trick… Crazy. The lens AF didn’t work any more. I finally noticed that the problem was the AF ON/OFF button, so I connected the 2 wires manually to block it in the ON position.
    My water was clear. I think, if you drop it in salt water, the chances of fixing it are much thinner.

    The 1 thing that I will remember from this story is that the D700 is 0% waterproof. I know it because I looked inside. There’s no joints whatsoever. The water (and dust) can virtually penetrate anywhere in no time.



  • tiredofit123

    I dearly love my D700 and after four years and 52,000 frames I’m hoping it will last a few more years. Dunking it is one of my nightmare accident scenarios–I did have something similar happen in 2001 with a HP C912, a 2MP fixed lens “SLR” like camera. I was canoeing and it flipped, where I found out the water tight box wasn’t. I took the battery out and disassembled as much as I could, letting it air dry. I was a little distressing looking in the lens and seeing a hazy fog, but after a week it powered up and worked again, and kept going for four more years until the LCD died.