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Canon lens date codes and EF lens chronology

Lens manufacturing codes (updated Dec '12)

lens manufacturing codeSome older Canon lenses are stamped with a manufacturing code consisting of two letters and (typically) four numbers.

Before 1986, the code may be in a letter/4 digit/letter format

The first letter indicates the manufacturing site:
U = Utsunomiya, F = Fukushima, O = Oita

The second letter is the year the lens was made

A = 2012, 1986, 1960 B = 2013, 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        

So the UC1204 Canon Date code would indicate a lens made at Utsunomiya in December 1988

The 3rd and 4th digits are an internal Canon manufacturing code. Starting in 1990, Canon only date coded some specific lenses

All L-series lenses EF15mm f/2.8 Fisheye EF24mm f/2.8 EF28mm f/2.8 EF28-70mm f/3.5-4.5
EF28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 II EF35mm f/2 EF35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 EF35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 EF35-105mm f/3.5-4.5
EF35-135mm f/3.5-4.5 EF50-200mm f/3.5-4.5 EF50mm f/1.8 EF50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro EF70-210mm f/4
EF100-200mm f/4.5 EF100-300mm f/5.6 EF135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus MP-E65 f/2.8 Macro TS-E45mm f/2.8
TS-E90mm f/2.8        

Note that the codes have become less common on recent lenses, with serial numbers in a different 'xx y zzzzzzz' format.

This is indicated on this EF8-15 f/4L fisheye zoom 7900001555

Canon ef8-15 lens showing manufacturing code and serial number

The first two digits are a date code, indicating month and year of manufacture.

In this case '79' equates with June 2011'

The next number '0' is believed to be a batch or manufacturing revision number.

The remaining seven digits '0001555' are a basic serial number (this was a very early lens - one of the first shipped in the UK)

How to interpret the date code? It's been suggested that the code starts in January 2008 with the number 38 and increments each month of the year. We believe the code was reset to 01 for Jan 2013 - but this is still not known for certain.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2008 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
2009 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61
2010 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73
2011 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 83 85
2012 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97
2013 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 12 13
2014                        

The code seems to work for modern 'L' lenses, but take this example of an EF50/1.4

Canon EF50 f/1.4 lens showing manufacturing date codes

The lens was purchased in March 2012, so the code '83' for October 2011 is reasonable. The digit '5' for a revision code is also reasonable for a lens that's been around for a few years (1993), but we are left with a 5 digit serial number.

So, a way of identifying dates, but not quite so clear as the old letter codes.

Canon EF lens chronology

When was a lens announced, and is it still a current model?

Note that this is not always the same as when it first shipped - some lenses were 'previewed' a long time before they were officially released (the 200-400 being a notable example).

Current EF lens Current EF-S lens Discontinued EF lens Discontinued EF-S lens Current EF-M lens

Active links go to that lens's information page on this site - see the site home page for review links for all Canon EF lenses

Year M Lens Year M Lens Year M Lens
1987 3 EF50mm f/1.8 1988 6 EF28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 II 1989 4 EF28-80mm f/2.8-4L USM
1987 3 EF35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 1988 6 EF35-135mm f/3.5-4.5 1989 9 EF50mm f/1.0L USM
1987 3 EF35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 1988 6 EF50-200mm f/3.5-4.5L 1989 9 EF85mm f/1.2L USM
1987 3 EF100-300mm f/5.6 1988 10 EF35-70mm f/3.5-4.5A 1989 9 EF80-200mm f/2.8L
1987 4 EF15mm f/2.8 Fisheye 1988 11 EF24mm f/2.8 1989 10 EF20-35mm f/2.8L
1987 4 EF28mm f/2.8 1988 11 EF200mm f/1.8L USM      
1987 5 EF70-210mm f/4 1988 11 EF600mm f/4L USM      
1987 6 EF100-300mm f/5.6L 1988 12 EF100-200mm f/4.5A      
1987 10 EF135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus            
1987 11 EF300mm f/2.8L USM            
1987 11 EF28-70mm f/3.5-4.5            
1987 12 EF50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro            
1987 12 EF50-200mm f/3.5-4.5            
 
1990 3 EF35-135mm f/4-5.6 USM 1991 3 EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 1992 3 EF500mm f/4.5L USM
1990 4 EF100mm f/2.8 Macro 1991 4 EF 400mm f/2.8L USM 1992 4 EF35-80mm f/4-5.6 USM
1990 6 EF70-210mm f/3.5-4.5 USM 1991 4 TS-E24mm f/3.5L 1992 6 EF20mm f/2.8 USM
1990 6 EF100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM 1991 4 TS-E45mm f/2.8 1992 6 EF85mm f/1.8 USM
1990 9 EF35-80mm f/4-5.6 1991 4 TS-E90mm f/2.8 1992 6 EF35-105mm f/4.5-5.6 USM
1990 10 EF35mm f/2 1991 4 EF35-105mm f/4.5-5.6 1992 6 EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 USM
1990 11 EF80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 1991 10 EF100mm f/2 USM 1992 6 EF80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 USM
1990 12 EF50mm f/1.8 II 1991 10 EF28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 USM 1992 11 EF28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
      1991 12 EF14mm f/2.8L USM      
      1991 12 EF200mm f/2.8L USM      
      1991 12 EF300mm f/4L USM      
 
1993 1 EF35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM 1994   No lenses in 1994? 1995 2 EF38-76mm f/4.5-5.6
1993 3 EF20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM       1995 3 EF35-80mm f/4-5.6 III
1993 5 EF400mm f/5.6L USM       1995 3 EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM
1993 6 EF50mm f/1.4 USM       1995 3 EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 II USM
1993 7 EF1200mm f/5.6L USM       1995 3 EF80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II
1993 9 EF35-80mm F4-5.6 II       1995 7 EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 II
1993 10 EF28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II USM       1995 8 EF28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 III USM
1993 11 EF28-70mm f/2.8L USM       1995 9 EF28mm f/1.8 USM
            1995 9 EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
 
1996 3 EF200mm f/2.8L II USM 1997 3 EF300mm f/4L IS USM 1998 2 EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
1996 3 EF400mm f/2.8L II USM 1997 12 EF24mm f/1.4L USM 1998 3 EF22-55mm f/4-5.6 USM
1996 4 EF135mm f/2L USM       1998 3 EF55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 USM
1996 4 EF180mm f/3.5L Macro USM       1998 11 EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
1996 4 EF17-35mm f/2.8L USM       1998 12 EF35mm f/1.4L USM
1996 9 EF24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM            
1996 9 EF28-80mm f/3.5-5.6            
1996 9 EF28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 IV USM            
 
1999 4 EF28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II 2000 3 EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM 2001 9 EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
1999 4 EF28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 V USM 2000 9 EF28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 2001 12 EF400mm f/4 DO IS USM
1999 4 EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 III 2000 9 EF28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM 2001 12 EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM
1999 4 EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM 2000 10 EF28-90mm f/4-5.6      
1999 7 EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM 2000 10 EF28-90mm f/4-5.6 USM      
1999 7 EF500mm f/4L IS USM 2000 10 EF28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM      
1999 9 EF400mm f/2.8L IS USM            
1999 9 EF600mm f/4L IS USM            
1999 9 MP-E65mm f/2.8 Macro            
1999 9 EF70-200mm f/4L USM            
 
2002 9 EF28-90mm f/4-5.6 II USM 2003 5 EF17-40mm f/4L USM 2004 6 EF28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
2002 9 EF28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM 2003 9 EF28-90mm f/4-5.6 II 2004 6 EF70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM
2002 9 EF28-105mm f/4-5.6 USM 2003 9 EF55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM 2004 9 EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
2002 9 EF90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM 2003 9 EF90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 2004 9 EF28-90mm f/4-5.6 III
2002 11 EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM 2004 9 EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 2004 11 EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
      2004 9 EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM      
                 
 
2005 3 EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM 2006 2 EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM 2007 2 EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
2005 3 EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II 2006 2 EF85mm f/1.2L II USM 2007 8 EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
2005 3 EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II USM 2006 8 EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM 2007 8 EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
2005 9 EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM 2006 8 EF50mm f/1.2L USM 2007 8 EF14mm f/2.8L II USM
2005 9 EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM            
 
2008 2 EF200mm f/2L IS USM 2009 2 TS-E 17mm f4/L 2010 1 EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
2008 2 EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM 2009 2 TS-E 24mm f3.5L II 2010 8 EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
2008 9 EF24mm f/1.4L II USM 2009 9 EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS 2010 8 EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM fisheye
2008 9 EF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 IS 2009 9 EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM 2010 8 EF300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM
      2009 9 EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM 2010 8 EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM
 
2011 2 EF500mm F/4L IS II USM 2012 2 EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM 2013 3 EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
2011 2 EF600mm F/4L IS II USM 2012 2 EF24mm f/2.8 IS USM 2013 5 EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x
2011 2 EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III 2012 2 EF28mm f/2.8 IS USM 2013 6 EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
2011 3 EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II 2012 6 EF40mm f/2.8 STM 2013 8 EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
2011 6 EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II 2012 6 EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM      
      2012 7 EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM      
      2012 7 EF-M 22mm f/2 STM      
      2012 11 EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM      
 
2014 5 EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM            
2014 5 EF-S 10-18 f/4.5-5.6 IS STM            
2014 6 EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM            
                 

Note that discontinued lenses may still be available and current listed lens may be in the process of being discontinued. There is often no clear termination process, particularly with Canon's global market.

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