Canon Lens Date Codes – Find out your canon lens’s age

Canon Lens Date Codes

Are you thinking about purchasing a Canon Lens? You might want to look at the date code at the back. Take note that this date code can only tell you the date that the lens was manufactured, and where the lens was manufactured in Japan. While it’s still helpful if you’re purchasing a second hand lens, this code won’t tell you how long and how frequently this lens has been used.

Location of the codes

It’s usually located at the back surface of the the lens. For example: “UW0606”

The first letter

The first letter on your Canon lens date code indicated the site where your Canon lens was manufactured. These are all in Japan. The standard is U for Utsunomiya, Japan; F for Fukushima; and O for Oita. The most common lens manufacturer for lenses distributed to the USA is Utsunomiya.

The second letter

The second letter of your Canon lens code is very important because it indicated the year it was manufactured. This is a bit tricky, though, because there are two possible years of manufacture. For this, you might have to research a bit on when the lens was released. Most likely, if you’ve bought the lens first hand, this will be the later date.

A – 2012,1986 & 1960

B – 1987 and 1961

C – 1988 and 1962

D – 1989 and 1963

E – 1990 and 1964

F – 1991 and 1965

G – 1992 and 1966

H – 1993 and 1967

I – 1994 and 1968

I – 1994 and 1968

J – 1995 and 1969

K – 1996 and 1970

L – 1997 and 1971

M – 1998 and 1972

N – 1999 and 1973

O – 2000 and 1974

P – 2001 and 1975

Q – 2002 and 1976

S – 2004 and 1978

T – 2005 and 1979

U – 2006 and 1980

V – 2007 and 1981

W – 2008 and 1982

X – 2009 and 1983

Y – 2010 and 1984

Z – 2011 and 1985

so on..

First two numbers

They represent the year of manufacture of the lens.

The third and fourth digits are not as important, at least for consumers. These are internal Canon codes which only the company would understand.

Why it’s important?

First of all it’s always interesting to know…how old is that lens? At least it will help you to find out how long that lens has been stuck in the shelves. However, the date code could be of little use to you if you’re purchasing your lenses second hand. A two year old lens, for example, based on the date code alone, could be more worn out than a three year old lens, depending on the first user. You need to fully inspect the goods you’re purchasing if you’re purchasing them second hand. You won’t be able to claim manufacturer warranties for these lenses. It’s really still advisable to always buy first hand lenses.

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