How to date Canon cameras

Dating camera equipment is always tricky. Camera manufacturers were not as good at date codes as Zippo was, so finding a reliable way of determining when the product was produced. Starting around 1960 Canon date codes were rubber stamped on camera bodies in the film cartridge area. Unfortunately sometimes they rub off. Canon continued this practice until about 2013 when they stopped placing them reliably. They restarted the date-letter code in 1986 and 2013. Lenses had a similar date code format. The letter is the year of manufacture but it is unclear what the final 2 digits represent.

Below is a listing of the date codes.

Letter Date1st Series Year2nd Series Year3rd Series Year
A196019862012
B196119872013
C19621988 
D19631989 
E19641990 
F19651991 
G19661992 
H19671993 
I19681994 
J19691995 
K19701996 
L19711997 
M19721998 
N19731999 
O19742000 
P19752001 
Q19762002 
R19772003 
S19782004 
T19792005 
U19802006 
V19812007 
W19822008 
X19832009 
Y19842010 
Z19852011 

After 2008 Canon started using 10 digit codes. This new format just reveals the year of production, but none of these things are set in stone. Canon has not reliably included these on 100% of the products they produced so it’s really just a guideline.

Here is a list of the digits and their corresponding year.

Date200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
January385062748601132537496173
February395163758702142638506274
March405264768803152739516375
April415365778904162840526476
May425466789005172941536577
June435567799106183042546678
July445668809207193143556779
August455769819308203244566880
September465870829409213345576981
October475971839510223446587082
November486072849611233547597183
December496173859712243648607284

Along a similar line, here is a list of codes for Nikkor lenses made for Bronica medium format cameras.

I plan on adding more info like this, so if you’re looking for something drop a comment & stay tuned…

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