SB-700 Battery Chamber Door Falling Apart?

SB-700 quality problems? The new Nikon SB-700 speedlight is a nice flash with a great user interface. I also wrote before that the new battery chamber is an improvement over previous Nikon flashguns.

Maybe I was wrong. See what happened last night when I was changing batteries during a recycle time test video – switching from alkaline to eneloop:

As can be seen at around second 5, the upper part of the battery chamber door separates from the base further than normal and then gets stuck. When trying to close it at second 30, it’s the same problem; the upper part does not slip back properly.

It seems to be a problem with the spring mechanism of the cover lock release, or that piece is at least involved in the problem. As can be seen in second 48 of the above video, that button does not come back out properly and remains stuck half way. In the photo below the button can be seen in correct position.

Nikon SB-700 battery compartment - door sliding down

I got it fixed, but this is not what I expect from a $330 speedlight (check prices and availability on amazon).

Is this only my unit, or does anyone else have a problem?

Please respond here with your experience, although I think now that it’s not a broader issue.

Where to buy the SB-700

Check amazon, Adorama, B & H Photo and J & R for supplies and prices of the Nikon SB-700.

You can also find the Nikon SB-700 on eBay, together with the SB600 that will be phased out soon.

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11 Responses to SB-700 Battery Chamber Door Falling Apart?

  1. Marc says:

    I definitely have a problem opening the SB-700′s batter compartment. Sometimes I have to fiddle with it for 30 seconds before it opens up and then the hatch usually slides off way more than expected like shown in the video. I also think this is sub-par for the quality of speedlight this is supposed to be.

  2. Jim Todd says:

    No problems here. I’ve opened and closed it without problem repeatedly.

  3. maia says:

    Same here. No problems at all thankfully.

  4. Edson says:

    I had some trouble opening until I figured it out there’s a button. But I had no problems closing.

  5. Kenneth Hammond says:

    Checked out a 700 at Samys the other day, even watched the salesman change the batteries with no drama (that I remember). BTW, what was used to trigger the flash at the end of the video?

  6. pepijn says:

    Was hard to open the first time, closing was no problem until now…

  7. Black Michael says:

    Compared to my SB-600, my SB-700 battery compartment door has been giving me major problems. In fact, the door slid out so far it clean fell off from its supporting arm! At least this gave me a chance to see the spring, which really is just a tiny “T”-shaped clip that clearly isn’t up to the job. It sits sandwiched in the middle of the door, just underneath the square push button. Anyways, I put everything back together again and now I can advise SB-700 users how to open the door without screwing it up.

    You MUST push down squarely on the “PUSH” button, and then, without taking off the pressure, slide the compartment door exactly 1/4 inch out, such that the the two plastic tabs that project out from the door disengage with the compartment housing. Unfortunately, this Speedlight doesn’t make a loud clicking noise (like the SB-600) that indicates when you are at the 1/4 inch position. Finally, Swing the door up 90 degrees until it snaps into the upright, open position.

    To close the door, do the reverse. Remember, if you accidentally pull the door out more than 1/4 of an inch you are looking for big problems!

  8. Jeff says:

    Separating the opening motion into 2 separate movements is a pain. Pushing down on the button accurately, then making sure the metal latch has cleared the catch, THEN slide the cover is way too difficult. I hate this design. It is impossible to ‘feel’ when the parts are in the correct position. This lack of feed back makes for very poor human interface.

    Taking it apart and looking at carefully, the design leaves very little margin of clearance. The design and material also does not seem to operate any better due to usage and wear. Even worse, applying sliding motion before the button & latch combo is clear actually jams the whole mechanism.

    Under operation, opening just this cover requires two hands. When the flash is attached to a Pro Camera, there is nothing more cumbersome than trying to change batteries on this flash.

    It should be one hand flicks opens the cover in one combo motion, then move the hand to support the flash and camera while tilting it. The other hand goes below the opening to catch the batteries tipped out of the compartment etc…

    It is ok if you start with a fresh set of batteries as it will usually last the whole evening. The problem is if you have to swap batteries during a shoot. I then find myself hissing a curse.

  9. I have two SB-700′s. One works great, but I had this same problem with the second. In fact, thge whole door came apart on me while trying to change batteries at an event. I was able to piece it back together to use, but it now comes apart every time I chaneg batteries.

    Off to the store to see about a Nikon fix, or exchange.

  10. george says:

    Just got this flash and had a little trouble at first with the door. Pushing on the button softly and looking at it as it opens to remember how much it slides seems to work alright. There is not a loud “click” with the door as it opens like my vivitar or other flashes l have used but l have the hang of it and have no trouble, just don’t be rough and push too far. It could be a tad sturdier but this does not take away from the overall potential and quality of this unit…pictures come out great

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