Nikon D5100 teardown

While waiting for the announcement of the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens which is less than 12 hours away, take a look at this Nikon D5100 teardown performed by Ifixit:

Teardown highlights:

  • The D5100 utilizes a 16.2 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor to capture images. This sensor has the same specs of the sensor used by the Nikon D7000.
  • Chipworks reports that each pixel on the sensor is 4.8 µm wide. That's about half the diameter of a red blood cell.
  • The sensor has a special glass cover that turns red when viewed at an angle, but is completely transparent when viewed head-on. Neat!
  • Unlike other recent teardowns, the battery can be easily replaced by opening the compartment with your thumbnail.
  • The 7.4 V 1030 mAh EN-EL14 Li-ion battery is used by the D5100, D3100, and the COOLPIX P700. Sadly, it's not compatible with other cameras in the Nikon lineup, such as the D90 and D7000.
  • Definitely make sure to discharge the large-and-in-charge 330µF flash capacitor if you attempt any repairs on the D5100. Otherwise you risk accidentally killing your camera.
  • The camera has roughly 4 billion screws holding it together. We had to skip a lot of the "unscrewing this screw" pictures in order to keep the teardown interesting, since we took out 37 of them to get to the teardown layout shot.
  • You can easily access the motherboard by removing the rear cover. You just need to remove twenty-ish #00 Phillips screws, disconnect 9 ribbon cables, and desolder a few wires...
  • The D5100 contains a lot of the same chips found in the Nikon D7000. Key players include:
    • Nikon EXPEED 2 EI-154 1051 Z05 image processor
    • Samsung K4T1G164QF-BCE7 1Gb DDR2-800 SDRAM (total of 3 Gb = 375 MB)
    • MXIC MX29GL128EHXFI-90G 128 Mb parallel flash memory
    • Toshiba TMP19A44FEXBG low-power microcontroller
    • Nikon EI-155 M4L1BA00 00151044
    • Nikon NHHS-2 049M8
  • There's a light blue pad wedged between the bottom of the flash capacitor and the bottom camera frame. It conducts heat away from the capacitor to cool it down during flash-intensive shooting.
  • The top cover is a feat of engineering by itself. Within its walls are contained: Main control wheel, shutter/aperture control wheel, live view lever, On/Off switch, "info" button, record button, shutter button, exposure compensation button, IR sensor, AF lamp, flash, flash control circuitry, flash actuator, and the microphone.
  • The flash is actuated by a linear solenoid that pushes on a lever to release the spring-loaded flash -- either automatically if the sensor detects a low-light situation, or when the flash button is depressed.


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  • matt

    The Nikon D5100. Some (dis)assembly required.

  • Kaze kaze

    D’oh, thought I will be the first to leave comment. Will be interesting to see what colour is Kai (from Dig-Rev) going to paint this one in. Mid night blue?

  • broxibear

    Samsung ram, Toshiba microcontroller and a Sony sensor…wonder which other electronics companies have parts inside the D5100 ?

  • I am a bit confused. The size of the D5100 is far smaller than the D7000, but the total amount of ratings is similar in between them. So… There are $500 difference ,but about the quality… Why should I buy a D7000 instead of this D5100?

    Please help!

    • Tonny

      you pay for motor, more buttons, more screen…..

      That seem to be reasonable for many people.

  • ‘4 billion screws’ is a cool way of putting it! haha. 22 for the back panel alone is ALOT.. the d200 has less than 10.

  • ricardo

    D5100: Nikon EXPEED EI-154 1051 Z05 image processor (from this article)
    D7000: Nikon EXPEED EI-154 1028 Z43 (from here: )

    Are there any differences between these two image processors? I wonder why we don’t have 1080p@30fps on D7000 too… is it a hardware (processor) limitation after all?

  • camaman

    I dont get this 3GB DDR2 = 375MB
    Which one is it?
    Is that the buffer? or just RAM for computer that is procesing the input from the sensor?

    • BornOptimist

      It could be they mean 3Gbit memory, and that gives 375 GB

    • BornOptimist

      Actually they have written 3Gb (which means gigabit, and not 3GB which menas gigabyte), so it is correct. And this is the ram-buffer.

  • Wow each pixel is really that small, smaller than a red blood cell 😮

  • CamaJan

    Damn that buffer sounds pathetic in this day and age!
    I bet even the new iphone will have more!:-(

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