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Nikon D7000 Disassembly Reveals DSLRs' Dense Construction

By Norman Chan

A modern digital camera is an incredibly complicated device.

We've taken apart iPads, game consoles, e-book readers, and portable video cameras, all in the name of figuring out how our devices work--and more importantly, how user-serviceable they are. One electronic device we haven't performed a proper autopsy on is the modern digital camera. That's partly because we don't have any laying around to spare, and a high-end DSLR is a pretty expensive piece of technology to tear down without confidence that we'd be able to put it back together in working order. And as it turns out, the digital camera is an enormously intricate piece of technology, and easily one of the most complex consumer electronics devices you may have in your home. Lensrentals.com recently took apart two different digital cameras: a Sony NEX-5n mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, and a prosumer-level Nikon D7000 DSLR camera.

Photo Credit: Roger Cicala for Lensrentals

The autopsy laid out not only the expected numerous screws (63 of them!), circuit boards, ribbon cables, metal shields, and control chips that you'd find in a device like a PlayStation Vita, but also a complicated mirror box assembly and flash unit that has a powerful capacitor with a strong electric charge. It's even more impressive that all of these components are organized and fit together in a body that's smaller than a loaf of bread, and explains why many camera manufacturers want equipment servicing to be done by their own technicians and not at mom and pop repair shops.

Lensrentals' more gutsy move was opening up the brand new Canon 5D Mark III, though they didn't tear it down completely. Unfortunately, the loose examination didn't reveal the source of the troubling "light leak" issue that Canon has confirmed is afflicting some 5D units.