# What does it mean rhe serial number of Zuikos?

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by ithinkthatsme, Apr 2, 2007.

1. ### ithinkthatsme

hy folks

I would like to know if anyone of you there know something about what does it
mean the serial number of a zuiko lens.I know that there's a lot of information
about the nikkor lens's serial numbers, that explain the date of it's release ....
But desapointedly i found nothing of the same about Zuikos.
Is there a formula to know when a Zuiko was made?
Thanks

2. ### george_shihanian

There is no logical system with regard to Olympus serial numbers.

3. ### darcy_cheung

is it the number show how many they've built. It is because the people always mention the late number is a better one with multi-coat.
And the earlier number which might be single coat.

4. ### skip_williams

The only logic regarding Zuiko lens serial numbers is that lower numbers = earlier lenses. And each lens line seems to have it's own sequence of numbers.

There is no known correlation between serial numbers and date of manufacture, lens design/version, or multi/single coating. The only way to know when a lens was introduced is to decipher it by using the available lens features, cross-referenced by info gathered from catalogs and advertisements.

It would be much nicer if Olympus had provided us with a nice, Leica-like translation of serial number = lens batch; but it doesn't exist. Leica even made it nicer: all their lenses have unique serial numbers, even across different focal lengths.

Skip Williams wrote: "lower numbers = earlier lenses!"

For most lenses this is correct but even here are some exceptions: for example, the 24/2.8 and 35/2.8 lenses have low serial numbers both for the single coated and multicoated versions; I cannot exclude whether there might be even two lenses of these (one SC, the other MC) with the same serial number. For the 35/2.8 shift lens, there are a couple of lenses around S/N 107,400 to 109,100 which seem to have been produced later than lenses with higher S/N; again within this range there are lenses with different front ring labels which might indicate that two lenses with the same serial number were produced. For the 50/1.8 lens, a batch in the s/n 5243xxx to 5285xxx has been produced in 1987, whereas the 5693xxx to 5777xxx range contains many (all?) lenses produced in 1985/86. The 80/4 macro head has been produced first with a manual aperture but they all have a s/n 2xx,xxx, whereas the later produced Auto version have sn 1xx,xxx; same for the old 20/3.5 and 38/3.5 bellow heads with s/n>200,000 whereas the newer 20/2 and 38/2.8 have s/n 1xx,xxx. The low s/n 40/2 lenses (101,xxx to 104,xxx) have been produced anytime between spring 1983 to summer 1984 w/o any correlation with the numbers. Similarly, the (early) numbering of the 35-105/3.5-4.5 does not directly correlate with the manufacturing date.

I am guessing that the front rings with the serial numbers were filled in bags, and when they were put onto the mounted lenses, they were grabed randomly....

For lenses produced after spring/summer 1983, you can (in most cases) find a white 4-letter code at the back of the lens where the third letter indicates the production year (C=1983, D=1984, ... W=2003; yes, the last lenses have been produced in early summer 2003), and the fourth digit/letter the production month (1=Jan, ..., A=Oct, B=Nov, C=Dec). When produced before mid 1983, lenses have a different code, usually hidden below the rubber of the focus ring. I don't know about Leitz/Leica lenses, but putting the production plant (1st and 2nd letter of code) and production month/year directly onto the lens makes much more sense than to look-up any kind of tables, especially as to my knowledge, Leica has not yet revealed the production/serial number relations for the latest lenses (but I can be wrong).

6. ### john_hermanson|2

Most older Zuiko lenses have the production date under the focus rubber. It will show up as a stamped number like "S 5 7" . In this case S is the factory, 5 is the year 1975, 7 is the month, July. For months Oct., Nov., December, they are represented by X, Y, Z. So, "S 5 Z" production date is December 1975. New lenses may have the code on the back mount somewhere in small white letters. This coding started in 1981. Something like "FA A 9". FA is the factory, A = 1981 (B = 82, C = 83 etc.) 9 is the month, September. Hope this helps a little. John, Olympus OM Service since 1977, www.zuiko.com