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.
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:
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. 🙂