The folks at Chipworks do a whole lot more than just wonder. They specialize in dismantling consumer electronics products, then analyzing what lies inside, information that can prove very useful to companies looking to understand their competitors' products, or perhaps to defend their patent portfolio, should they suspect a rival's product infringes on their own technologies.
Chipworks have just done a teardown of the Nikon D7000, and posted a few select images on their website. For those of us who're neither technically-minded enough, nor brave enough to risk dismantling our prized cameras, Chipworks' D7000 article offers a rare glimpse into the innermost workings of a modern SLR. It's a reminder of just how much photography relies on electronics today, made all the more impressive when you consider that there's more processing power packed into just one camera than was available to all of NASA, not so many years ago.
It's also pretty interesting to see such a graphic demonstration of the fact that, under the skin, modern cameras are a truly international affair. Manufacturers must rely on off-the-shelf components from a variety of other companies -- sometimes even their rivals -- to complete their designs, so that they can instead focus on their own areas of expertise, rather than expending resources on reinventing the wheel.
In the case of the D7000, Chipworks shows off just some of the components it found, including a Sony IMX071 image sensor, Nikon's own proprietary EXPEED 2 image processor, 512MB of SDRAM from Taiwan's Nanya Technology Corp., a TX System RISC microcontroller with onboard flash memory from Japan's Toshiba Corp., an EEPROM module manufactured in Thailand by California-based Spansion Inc., a motor driver from Japan's ROHM Co. Ltd., and an inertial sensor from Massachussetts-based MEMSIC Inc.
For more on their Nikon D7000 teardown, visit the Chipworks website. A word of caution for those who've been lusting after a D7000, though. Be ready to shed a tear, because some cameras were very definitely harmed in the making of Chipworks' blog post! ;-)