Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

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Dating A. Schacht Lenses


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Without provenance it is quite difficult to give an exact date on these lenses, however, the first lenses that were made from 1948 in Munich, Germany are marked as A. Schacht Munchen. In 1954, the company moved to Ulm. Those lenses from the 1954 to1967 period are marked A. Schacht Ulm.

Dating Carl Zeiss lenses by serial numbers

You can date a Carl Zeiss Jena lens using these serial numbers.
Export lenses often have a small Q1 mark. This denotes a 1st Quality lens.

Serial nº

137,418-200,520
208,473-249,350
249,886-282,739
282,800-284,500
285,200-288,100
289,087-298,157
298,215-322,748
322,799-351,611
375,194-419,823
433,273-438,361
422,899-498,006
561,270-578,297
578,297–631,501
631,500-648,500
666,790-703,198
722,196-798,251
903,100-908,150
919,794-1,016,885
922,488-1,239,697
1,239,699-1,365,582
1,364,483-1,389,279
1,436,671-1,456,003
1,500,474-1,590,000
1,615,764-1,752,303
1,674,882-1,942,806
1,930,150-2,219,775
2,267,991-2,527,984
2,527,999-2,651,211
2,652,000-c2,678,000
2,678,326-2,790,346
2,800,000- ?
3,000,000-3,200,000
3,200,000-3,470,000
3,470,000-4,000,000
4,000,000-5,000,000
5,000,000-6,000,000
6,000,000-6,000,000
7,000,000-8,000,000
8,000,000-9,000,000
9,000,000-10,000,000
Year

1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1945-1949
1949-1952
1952-1955
1955-1958
1958-1961
1961-1964
1964-1967
1967-1970
1970-1975

Dating Russian Lenses (Helios etc)

Most Russian lenses of the time had 8-digit serial numbers, with two first numbers representing the year.

This does not, however, work with the following numbers:

  • 000xxxxxx factory test (study) models (prototypes etc) modeles d'etudes d'usine (prototypes etc..)
  • 00xxxxxx pre-series models reserved for important members of the communist party and "VIPs" (reserves aux membres du parti communist et haut responsables en pre-serie)
  • 0xxxxxx reserved for factory syndicat leaders (reserves aux responsables syndicaux d'usines)

I always look for the lenses with pre-production serial numbers because there's that chance that they might be better than those of mass-production lines, as these are in fact all pre-production models. They are generally considered higher quality optics due to the fact that there is stricter quality control (which is disputed among Russian gear), they are produced in lower numbers with greater care, and they are not presented to the general public. A great many photographers, with multiple copies of the Russian lenses, have found the best to be the ones with the 0xxxxx serial numbers. Whether there is really any difference between which pre-production model is the better has yet to be tested by me on this site.


Dating Canon Lenses

If your lens is older than 2008,

Canon included a date code beside the rear lens element of many (but not all) lenses.

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As can be seen the date code is in the form of "UR0902". This code was also used on some other Canon products including camera bodies.

The first letter, "U", indicates that the lens was made in Canon's Utsunomiya, Japan factory. Prior to 1986, this letter is moved to the last position of the date code.

U = Utsunomiya, Japan
F = Fukushima, Japan
O = Oita, Japan

The second letter, "R", is a year code that indicates the year of manufacture. Canon increments this letter each year starting with A in 1986 and prior to that, A in 1960 without the leading factory code. Here is a table to make things simple:

A = 2012, 1986, 1960
B = 2013, 1987, 1961
C = 2014, 1988, 1962
D = 2015, 1989, 1963
E = 2016, 1990, 1964
F = 2017, 1991, 1965
G = 2018, 1992, 1966
H = 2019, 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

The first two numbers, "09", is the month number the lens was manufactured in. Month 02 is February, month 11 = November. The leading zero of the month code is sometimes omitted.

Ignore the next two numbers, "02". This was a Canon internal code (that is occasionally omitted).

If the lens was after 2008 use the chart below.

DD C SSSSSSS

The DD is the key to the date the lens was manufactured - the production date code.



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Dating Leica Lenses

No two Leica lenses or cameras have the same serial number. If Leica ever almost duplicated a number, the second item had a star added after its otherwise identical serial number.

Serial Number

100 000 - 135 000
135 001 - 156 000
156 001 - 195 000
195 001 - 236 000
236 001 - 284 600
284 601 - 345 000
345 001 - 416 500
416 501 - 490 000
490 001 - 538 500
538 501 - 565 000
565 001 - 582 294
582 295 - 593 000
593 001 - 594 880
594 881 - 595 000
595 001 - 601 000
601 001 - 633 000
633 001 - 647 000
647 001 - 682 000
682 001 - 756 000
756 001 - 840 000
840 001 - 950 000
950 001 - 1 051 000
1 051 000 - 1 124 000
1 124 001 - 1 236 000
1 236 001 - 1 333 000
1 333 001 - 1 459 000
1 459 001 - 1 548 000
1 548 001 - 1 645 300
1 645 301 - 1 717 000
1 717 001 - 1 827 000
1 827 001 - 1 913 000
1 913 001 - 1 967 100
1 967 101 - 2 015 700
2 015 701 - 2 077 500
2 077 501 - 2 156 300
2 156 301 - 2 236 500
2 236 501 - 2 254 400
2 254 401 - 2 312 750
2 312 751 - 2 384 700
2 384 701 - 2 468 500
2 468 501 - 2 503 100
2 503 101 - 2 556 500
2 556 501 - 2 663 400
2 663 401 - 2 731 900
2 731 901 - 2 761 100
2 761 101 - 2 809 400
2 809 401 - 2 880 600
2 880 601 - 2 967 250
2 967 251 - 3 013 650
3 013 651 - 3 087 000
3 087 001 - 3 160 500
3 160 501 - 3 249 100
3 249 101 - 3 294 900
3 294 901 - 3 346 200
3 346 201 - 3 383 200
3 383 201 - 3 422 890
3 422 891 - 3 455 870
3 455 871 - 3 478 900
3 478 901 - 3 503 150
3 503 151 - 3 540 467
3 540 468 - 3 583 830
3 585 831 - 3 610 680
3 610 381 - 3 644 475
3 644 476 - 3 677 030
3 677 031 - 3 730 290
3 730 291 - 3 770 920
3 770 930 - 3 818 624
3 818 625 - 3 857 849
3 857 850 - 3 882 996
3 882 997 - 3 912 247
3 912 248 - 3 941 497
3 941 498 - 3 970 748
3 970 748 - 3 999 999
4 000 000 - 4 010 600
4 010 601 - 4 025 900
4 025 901 - 4 034 900
4 034 901 - 4 057 000
4 057 001 - 4 080 000
4 080 001 - 4 100 000
4 100 001 - 4 115 000
4 115 001 - 4 130 000
4 130 001 -
Year

1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012

Dating Pentacon Lenses

There are no easy serial numbers you can use to date Pentacon lenses so you can guess based company history and lens release dates. Most Pentacon brand lenses were derived from classical East-German lens constructions. When the Pentacon Combinate (Pentacon group) was founded in 1968 the famous German lens maker Hugo Meyer in Görlitz (since 1952 officially "VEB Feinoptisches Werk Görlitz") was incorporated into that group. The lens maker's brand name was changed from "Meyer-Optik Görlitz" to "Pentacon", and even Meyer's renowned trademarks like "Lydith" and "Orestor" were omitted. Since then all the successful former Meyer lens constructions were produced by Pentacon. Further lens development focused on the lens coating's improvement, resulting in advanced Pentacon lenses with "Multi Coating" (MC).


Dating Meyer Lenses

Serial Number

2163
14 227
53 203
91 369
155 903
235 265
336 157
660 077
951 011
1 104 132
1 442 000
2 538 910
3 786 130
6 064 888
Year

1900
1905
1910
1915
1920
1925
1930
1935
1940
1950
1955
1960
1965
1970

Joseph Schneider

These are the serial number sequence starting dates of lenses made by Joseph Schneider & Co, Kreuznach, Germany. Schneider lenses made in Göttingen. The plant later became ISCO but then followed a different sequence.

Serial nº

30,000
40,000
50,000
100,000
200,000
300,000
400,000
500,000
600,000
700,000
800,000
900,000
1,000,000
1,200,000
1,400,000
1,600,000
1,800,000
2,000,000
2,200,000
2,400,000
2,600,000
2,800,000
3,000,000
4,000,000
5,000,000
6,000,000
7,000,000
8,000,000
9,000,000
10,000,000
11,000,000
11,500,000
12,000,000
12,500,000
13,000,000
13,200,000
13,400,000
13,600,000
13,800,000
14,000,000
14,100,000
14,200,000
14,300,000
14,400,000
14,460,000
14,480,000
14,500,000
14,510,000
14,520,000
14,540,000
14,560,000
14,590,000
14,600,000
14,620,000
14,623,340
14,651,520
14,690,300
14,726,600
14,756,400
14,788,450
14,820,970
14,853,700
14,890,800
15,000,000
Year

December 1919
May 1920
January 1922
January 1925
June 1928
February 1929
April 1931
June 1932
August 1933
October 1934
September 1935
May 1936
November 1936
December 1937
November 1938
September 1939
June 1942
September 1948
July 1949
October 1950
May 1951
November 1951
May 1952
October 1954
February 1957
May 1959
February 1961
March 1963
February 1965
January 1967
November 1968
July 1970
September 1972
March 1974
December 1976
September 1977
October 1978
October 1979
January 1981
October 1983
January 1985
August 1986
November 1988
January 1991
February 1992
January 1993
November 1993
January 1994
May 1994
January 1995
April 1995
January 1996
April 1996
November 1996
January 1997
January 1998
January 1999
January 2000
January 2001
January 2002
January 2003
January 2004
January 2005
November 2008

Meyer Görlitz

Meyer Görlitz serial numbers and approximate years of manufacturing.

Serial No

2163
14227
53203
91369
155903
235265
336157
660077
951011
1104132
1442000
2538910
3786130
6064888
Year

1900
1905
1910
1915
1920
1925
1930
1935
1940
1950
1955
1960
1965
1970

Production Dates for Rodenstock Lenses:

Year

1910
1920
1930
1935
1938
1940
1945
1952
1954
1957
1961
1966
1971
1973
1974
1977
1979
1984
1991
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
Serials

0 - 50,000
50,000- 200,000
200,001- 400,000
400,001- 700,000
700,001- 900,000
900,001- 950,000
950,001- 2,000,000
2,000,001- 2,500,000
2,500,001 - 3,000,000
3,000,001 - 4,000,000
4,000,001 - 5,000,000
5,000,001 - 6,000,000
6,000,001 - 7,000,000
7,000,001 - 8,000,000
8,000,001 - 9,000,000
9,000,001 - 9,500,000
9,500,001 - 10,000,000
10,000,001- 10,500,000
10,500,001- 11,000,000
11,000,001- 11,150,000
11,150,001- 11,231,713
11,231,714- 11,294,073
11,294,074- 11,358,165
11,358,166- 11,407,513
11,407,514- 11,468,541

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