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Minolta date of manufacture from Serial No

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Phil Wood View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Minolta date of manufacture from Serial No
    Posted: 22 April 2022 at 16:19
There's a youtube video from 'Mr Baz' that states that the third digit of a Minolta serial number indicates the year of manufacture. So a 4 would be 1994 or 2004, a 7 would be 1987 or 1997, etc.

Has anyone come across a source for this theory? Or is it BS?

If a lens that was not in production for more than 10 years the system would give a unique year on any particular lens. That said I have a 300mm f4 HS APO, third digit is 4. The lens was introduced in 1994 and may still have been in production in 2004?
 



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michelb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote michelb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2022 at 17:04
I doubt it

First, the initial offerings of AF lenses had 7 digits that all start with a 1 and this seems to have lasted a little over 1 year and they appear to be sequential which means there is little info to get out of those.

The following 8 digit serial numbers do appear like the first digits may mean something but i think the mystery is still unsolved and they started being used around 1986-87

As a demonstration, i own a Maxxum AF 28-85 original version ( with metal focusing ring) that i purchased new in September of 1988 that bears a serial number of 3127402 so if the above theory was right, it would have been made either in 1982 (no AF lens yet), 1992 (4 years after i purchased and took delivery) or 2002 (14 years after purchase).
In another example, In BeerCan AF 70-210 F4 i have seen serial numbers like 56105726 and 61101621 which would see them made in 1991 but this lens model was replaced by the 3.5-4.5 version in 1988 and to my knowledge, they did not continue making it after the introduction of the n version.

What is that video you mention ?
Michel B
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Phil Wood View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2022 at 17:14
Thanks - I must have a look at 8 digit serials to see if I can find an example that demonstrates as clearly as your 28-85 that the theory fails.

Here is the youtude video.
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amrep View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote amrep Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2022 at 19:21
I think including a year-code in the serial number would be very impractical.

In general, the most significant digits in a serial may indicate a production run. It is also well known that Minolta sought to segregate Asian, European and US markets. It wold not be surprising if that also influenced the serial numbering.

For the production year you can get a non-coded information by looking at the baffle just inside the mount (maybe not always very accurate).

I will let others dive into this, it's not so interesting to me.
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michelb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote michelb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2022 at 19:23
2 more examples from my collection:

- Maxxum AF 24mm F 2.8 original version purchased new 1989/07/28 bearing serial number 62201166 (made in 1992 ?)

- Maxxum AF 50mm F 2.8 macro original version purchased 1988/12/02 bearing serial number 39101041 (made in 1991 ?)

In the video, he is showing a 70-210 BeerCan that as per his theory should have been made in 1991. This lens was replaced by the F3.5-4.5 version in 1988 and the F4 version disappeared from price lists and brochures at that time. I don't think Minolta would continue manufacturing something that does not show in documentation (brochures) and price lists (people can not order it) more so after 3 years.


Too many non working examples found in a few minutes that show it unfortunately does not work.
Michel B
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XKAES View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote XKAES Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2022 at 20:09
I've never run across anything to suggest that Minolta approached serial numbers in this way. I suspect that it is largely the same as for other lens makers -- ex.

1234 -- the first digits standing for the lens/run which tells the maker all they need to know, what lens it was and when it was made.

5678 -- followed by the sequential numbering of the lenses in the run, which can be used to fine-tune the exact date of the lens.

Or something to that effect. Pretty simple and works for the makers needs.

Edited by XKAES - 22 April 2022 at 20:22
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2022 at 21:01
The date of Leica lenses based on serial number is known:
https://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/Serial_Number_Links_for_Leica_Cameras_and_Lenses

Also, the date of Canon lenses is known:
https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/Canon-Lens-Aging.aspx

Never heard this about Minolta and I think Michel's post is definitive: no way it is correct.
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stiuskr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2022 at 11:46
Wondering if this is the same Mr Baz who was a member here for about a year until he was booted and blocked?
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