How to Read Canon Lens Date Codes

canon lens date codes

Every Canon lens has a “date code” imprinted somewhere on the lens mount. This tells you where and when the lens was manufactured so that you can judge the age of a lens you might want to buy on the used market. The code table below breaks it all down.

Canon Lens Date Codes – The Breakdown

All (or virtually all) Canon lens date codes are a series of six alphanumeric characters. As an example, here’s the date code from my Canon 20-35mm f/2.8L lens: UH0903. Lets break down what each of the characters means.canon lens date codes

The first character denotes the factory at which the lens was manufactured. Here are what the letters mean:

  • F = Fukishima Plant
  • U = Utsunomiya Plant
  • O = Oita Plant

The second character is the year of manufacture. Canon wisely decided to reuse the lettes for multiple years. Here’s the list of letters and years:

Letter   
A198619602012
B198719612013
C198819622014
D198919632015
E199019642016
F199119652017
G199219662018
H199319672019
I199419682020
J199519692021
K199619702022
L199719712023
M199819722024
N199919732025
O200019732026
P200119742027
Q200219752028
R200319762029
S200419772030
T200519782031
U200619792032
V200719802033
W200819812034
X200919822035
Y201019832036
Z201119842037

The next two characters are the month of manufacture. This is just the same a normal date, so 01 = January, 12 = December, and so on.

The last two characters are a mystery. They are an internal code that Canon uses, possibly for lot numbering or QC or whatever. Ignore those last two.

Canon Lens Date Codes – Summary

So my lens with the date code UH0903 was made at Utsunomiya Plant in September of 1993…way before many of you reading this were born. 🙂

canon lens date codes

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