$2,699, May 2011 (rose immediately from $2,399 after the Japanese tsunami closed Nikon's Sendai factory in which these are made.)
$2,399, March 2010.
$2,350, July 2009.
$2,399, December 2008.
$2,999.95 at introduction, August 2008.
(Taken from kenrockwell.com)
As you can see here, the D700 dropped around $600 dollars within 4-5 months of being introduced into the market. Is there a reason for this price drop? Natural Disaster? Recession? Act of God? Competitive edge against Canon? Maybe its just Nikon wanting to capitalize during the initial release?
It is a mixture of normal camera sales where new products sell at the MSRP with companies generally price bodies around 10% below the MSRP and then drop it another 10% a year after release or when widely available. Then it tends to drop about 5% each additional year until a new model is released. So there's the normal drop you see. When you think about it, you see the same thing happen on almost everything we buy.
That is normal. The last four years for world economics is has not been normal. When the economy tanked around the world, prices dropped as demand fell and shops still needed to keep the lights on and started selling everything they could. So there is a bit more of the drop in price.
Then countries to fend of monetary troubles began to move their currency valuations to help with growing unemployment and help commerce continue instead of halting. Japan did not move it's currency valuations as much and now it's currency is strong. This equals higher prices for exports and to us. This is the main reason for higher prices for new and existing products.
The floods in Thailand and the earthquake in Japan effected supply. That with the lack of demand (both moving in the same direction-down) kept prices steady. Some sellers tried to gouge people but for everyone who was, there were 10 who didn't. At that time as well, Nikon also started rolling out price controls to the US and a few other countries to keep sellers more in line then in the past. Add to that, Nikon also announced (along with almost every Japanese company) increases in price on it's products due to the prediction of currency valuations against the Yen would continue to drop.
There are about 20 other smaller variable that I can think of that works into the prices over the last few years, but the impact is only a couple of %.