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Canon Lens Date Coding Revealed near rear element
Old 10-11-2009   #1
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Canon Lens Date Coding Revealed near rear element

I don't know if this information has appeared here before, but I'm sharing it anyway.

Beside the rear lens element of many (but not all) Canon lenses is a date code in the form of "UR0902". This code is also present on other Canon products including bodies.

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, "R", 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 table to make things simple:

A = 1986, 1960
B = 1987, 1961
C = 1988, 1962
D = 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 2 numbers "09" is the month the lens was manufactured. 02 is February. 11 is November. Leading zero of the month code is sometimes omitted. The last 2 numbers "02" are a Canon internal code that is occasionally omitted and are meaningless regarding production date.

Last edited by kkdanamatt : 11-10-2009 at 11:19. Reason: mistake in title
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Old 10-11-2009   #2
Silva Lining
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Very useful!

Just looked at the back of my new Canon 100/2.8 L Macro - serial number is UX0900 which means it was made in Utsunomiya this year...UW0412 on my 24-70/2.8L means 2008......no markings on my Canon RF lenses though ?

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Old 10-11-2009   #3
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I think you meant date code, not serial number
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Old 10-11-2009   #4
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Canon has been date coding their stuff for years. At least for Canon rangefinders, the earliest date codes, for the Canon 7 camera, seems to be E 09, meaning September, 1964.

Canon date-coding is discussed every so often on the Yahoo Canon FD group. Look there for more info.

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Yes, I meant date code, not serial number code
Old 10-12-2009   #5
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Yes, I meant date code, not serial number code

Originally Posted by axiom View Post
I think you meant date code, not serial number
Moderator: Can you change the title of my original post?

I found out how to edit the title of thread myself.

Last edited by kkdanamatt : 11-10-2009 at 11:20.
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Old 10-13-2009   #6
Brian Sweeney
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Thankyou! I love these date codes. Everyone should have used CAMEROSITY!
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Old 10-18-2009   #7
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These date codes relate to the late model 7,7s & 7sz RF cameras only but carried on and appeared in SLR camera film chambers and on the rear mount of there related lenses after 1960. The inked number appeared on the locking flange of the TV version of the .095 lens but not on the RF mount .095 lens or any other M39 lenses.
In my book, I have dedicated a chapter to early Canon Rangefinder Lens serial numbers (1939-1971), which had bugged me for years. To do it without computers would have made the task impossible but a fortnight of deliberation I finally worked out what Canon were up to. They did not want to copy Nikon's method which is very easy to follow, so devised there own system. At the moment I am working on the camera body superstructure serial numbers but they did things in batches as all the tops are the same to a point but what is added around the top depicts what type of camera Canon were putting together. Beats watching TV I suppose. Peter

Last edited by CanonRFinder : 11-21-2009 at 02:41.
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