Home Tips & Tricks How to Date a Canon FD Lens

How to Date a Canon FD Lens


Canon FD lenses are old lenses produced for Canon film cameras. FD lenses were manufactured first in 1971, and were the leading type of Canon lenses until being replaced by the EF lenses in 1987. Canon FD lenses are still available from private sellers, and can be purchased for use on older Canon FD-mount film cameras. However, as the lenses are older and subject to mechanical failure, consumers should be aware of the date of manufacture before buying a used Canon FD lens.


  • Look on the back of the Canon FD lens where the lens would be mounted to the camera and find a six-digit serial number. The number will be written as a single letter, four numbers and then one final letter.
  • Examine the first letter in the serial number, which designates the year of manufacture. The letter “L” stands for 1971, and the years continue sequentially through the alphabet (e.g. “M” is 1972, “N” is 1973 and so on). The alphabet starts back over again in 1986, when “A” designates lenses manufactured in this year.