How old is your lens? Here is how to determine the age of Canon lens using date codes and serial numbers

Canon has been transitioning to a 10-digit lens serial number (starting in 2008) and ending the inclusion of a separate manufacturing date code. While date codes and the shorter serial number are still found on some lenses, this inclusion will likely end completely. We loved the date code because it made aging a lens easy. However, now we can age a lens based on the serial number alone. For information on determining the age of a pre-10-digit serial number lens, see the section on interpreting the old date code below.

Determine the age of a Canon lens based on the 10-digit serial number:

DD C SSSSSSS

The DD is the key to the date the lens was manufactured - the production date code. The Canon lens date code chart is shown below:

  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
January 38 50 62 74 86 01 13 25
February 39 51 63 75 87 02 14 26
March 40 52 64 76 88 03 15 27
April 41 53 65 77 89 04 16 28
May 42 54 66 78 90 05 17 29
June 43 55 67 79 91 06 18 30
July 44 56 68 80 92 07 19 31
August 45 57 69 81 93 08 20 32
September 46 58 70 82 94 09 21 33
Október 47 59 71 83 95 10 22 34
November 48 60 72 84 96 11 23 35
December 49 61 73 85 97 12 24 36

 

These dates should be viewed as approximations and should be used for your amusement as the estimates are not guaranteed correct. Please send any discrepancies you find. Note that Canon EOS DSLR camera body serial numbers, at least for 2013, do not follow this chart. Also please note that future dates shown in the table are predictions/expectations. The third digit in the serial number C may be a charge/batch type of number. Canon has been using this number to indicate lenses needing specific service-related updates such as firmware.

The remaining digits in the serial number 
SSSSSSS are a uniquely-identifying number of the lens – likely within the production month.

Please note that, while the overall chart is holding out nicely with the lenses we've checked (including several late-2014 models), it is a work-in-process. In part, the numbers might be shifted by a month or so. Again, please send us any discrepancies you find. Special thanks go out to friend-of-the-site Norbert for his role in the development of this chart.

To determine the age of a pre-10-digit serial number Canon lens bearing a date code:

 Until phasing out the practice starting in 2008, Canon included a date code beside the rear lens element of many (but not all) lenses (note that some 2012-manufactured lenses retain the date code). This code is also present on some other Canon products including camera bodies. The date code (as seen below) is in the form of "UV0511". The first letter "U" indicates that the lens was made in Canon's Utsunomiya, Japan factory. Prior to 1986, this letter is moved to the last position of the date code.

  • U - Utsunomiya, Japan
  • F - Fukushima, Japan
  • O - Oita, Japan

The second letter "V" is a year code that indicates the year of manufacture. Canon increments this letter each year starting with A in 1986 and prior to that, A in 1960 without the leading factory code. Here is a list to make things simple:

A = 2012, 1986, 1960
B = 2013, 1987, 1961
C = 2014, 1988, 1962
D = 2015, 1989, 1963
E = 1990, 1964
F = 1991, 1965
G = 1992, 1966
H = 1993, 1967
I = 1994, 1968
J = 1995, 1969
K = 1996, 1970
L = 1997, 1971
M = 1998, 1972
N = 1999, 1973
O = 2000, 1974
P = 2001, 1975
Q = 2002, 1976
R = 2003, 1977
S = 2004, 1978
T = 2005, 1979
U = 2006, 1980
V = 2007, 1981
W = 2008, 1982
X = 2009, 1983
Y = 2010, 1984
Z = 2011, 1985

The first two numbers "05" is the month number the lens was manufactured in. Month 05 is May.
The next two numbers, "02", are meaningless in determining how old a Canon lens is. This is a Canon internal code (that is occasionally omitted).

The leading zero of the month code is sometimes omitted. So the lens that can be seen on the photo was made in May 2007, in Utsunomiya, Japan.
Please note: however you now know the manufacture date for your lens, you may not know how long the lens was in inventory, in shipping transit and on a shelf until it was originally purchased (without having the original receipt or a reputable person accurately informing you).

 

Source: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/


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