I want to write down model name and serial number of my camera body and camera lens, in case they are lost or stolen.

  1. Where can I find those data? Lightroom provides all data but serial name of lens. Are they missing from EXIF?

    Lightroom Exif screenshot

  2. How can I copy those data to the clipboard? There's no way to select, and Ctrl+C does not work for it.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Isn't each respective serial number just printed right on the camera and lens themselves? Also check original packaging if you still have it, or original invoice if you still have it. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Nov 10, 2018 at 11:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @osullic, maybe OP want to filter (in LR) by serial number (if have two copies of particular lens) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 10, 2018 at 14:27
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov well the OP specifically says, "Just in case I lost or they get stolen". It just seems to me that the OP is making a simple task difficult for no reason. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Nov 10, 2018 at 15:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Not all cameras and lenses have the serial numbers etched in. Labels can also become worn down so that they become unreadable. Also, if it can be confirmed that particular equipment saves serial numbers in image metadata, it can be used to track stolen equipment if the new "owner" uploads any images. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Nov 12, 2018 at 10:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, someone might have neglected to record serial numbers of their own equipment (or lost the records), and wants to recover them from existing images after equipment got lost or stolen.... \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2019 at 15:50

4 Answers 4


Apparently Canon only started including an "internal" lens serial number field in the EXIF info when they started including the ability for cameras with AFMA (Autofocus Micro Adjustment) to discriminate between two copies of the same lens model.

When using Adobe products (such as Lightroom or ACR), the field is never included in the EXIF info displayed by the application. Canon's own 'Digital Photo Professional' does not display the lens ID number, either. Using other third party applications, such as 'Irfanview', does show the lens ID number included in the EXIF info for cameras with AFMA that can discriminate between two copies of the same lens model.

enter image description here

The screenshot above was taken from an image captured with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II using an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II lens manufactured in 2010. The 5D Mark III I use regularly also includes the internal lens serial number in the EXIF info. My older Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 5D Mark II do not include the field, even when the same lenses are used on both sets of cameras. When an older lens model that does not communicate an internal lens ID to the camera is used on one of the newer cameras, the field is reported as '0000000000' (ten consecutive "zeros"). This is even the case with a newly made copy of an older lens design. The EF 135mm f/2 L is a lens model first released in 1996. My current copy was manufactured in September 2016. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III reports the internal 'Lens serial number' as '0000000000'.

This "internal" serial number is a different number from the external serial number printed on the lens barrel or flange mounting ring, even when the internal number that appears to be at least partially in hex format is converted to decimal. It is presumed by many to be a number that is uniquely assigned to only one lens ever made by Canon. At the very least, it is almost certainly a number that is unique for all copies of that particular lens model. Canon probably uses a separate "internal" serial number in order to standardize the format for all of their various lens lines, which can vary significantly in terms of the number of digits included in the external lens serial number. There also seems to be at least some cases where the same external serial numbers have been used for two different lenses in two different model lines.

Please note that the actual date of manufacture of the lens does not seem to affect whether the lens provides an internal serial number or not. It appears to be when that lens model was introduced.

  • I have an EF 17-40mm f/4 L. The lens was introduced in 2003. My copy was made in May 2012. It does not report a serial number to the camera.
  • I have an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS. The lens was introduced in 2005. My copy was made in March 2011. It does provide an lens serial number to the camera.
  • I have an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II. The lens was introduced in 2010. My copy was made in June 2010. I reports a lens serial number to the camera.
  • All of my other lenses that are models introduced prior to 2003 do not report an internal serial number, even if my copy of the lens was made as recently as 2016.
  • The first Canon bodies that offered user accessible AFMA were the EOS 1D Mark III and EOS 1Ds Mark III, both introduced in 2007. As has been the case several other times, Canon started "silently" making half of a system with compatibility for a feature to be introduced in the other half a couple of years later. Canon appears to have started including the "internal" serial number in lenses sometime around 2004-2005 before introducing the camera bodies that could use the information in 2007.¹

¹ Another classic example: Canon bodies introduced from about mid-1993 had the ability to control Canon EF lenses with IS. No one, other than those on the inside at Canon, had a clue the bodies they already owned included this ability until the first IS lens was introduced in 1995 and Canon released a list of existing models that already had compatibility with IS built in. Another example: For several years before the release of the 470EX-AI, Canon bodies as early as the EOS 7D Mark II introduced in late 2014 included the needed firmware to control the new self aiming bounce feature of the flash that was introduced in early 2018. Canon made no public announcement about the ability included in these camera bodies (7DII, 1D X II, 5Ds/5DsR, 5DIV, 6DII, Rebel T6i/750D, Rebel T6s/760D, Rebel T7i/800D, 80D, 77D) until they announced the new 470EX-AI flash in early 2018.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a source for "It [the internal lens serial number] is a number that is uniquely assigned to only one lens ever made by Canon."? \$\endgroup\$
    – cmuseum
    Jan 12, 2019 at 23:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @cmuseum I don't have an authoritative source at my fingertips. I have read in more than one place that such is the case. I've altered the answer to more accurately reflect this. It does seem quite likely that, since Canon seems to have only started programming internal serial numbers into the firmware of their lenses about 15 years ago, and based on the 10 digit length that uses both numbers and letters (for 36 potential characters for each digit - thus there are 36^10 available numbers), that they have not remotely approached using all of the 3.6 quadrillion available combinations. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 13, 2019 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Approximately 140 million EF lenses have been sold since 1987. Over the past 4-5 years, Canon has celebrated a 10 million lens milestone each year. At the current production rate of 10M per year, a full set of 10-digit serial numbers with 36-characters available per digit will be exhausted about 365 million years in the future. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 13, 2019 at 0:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not questioning whether or not this field can accomodate enough unqiue numbers. But I don't think Canon actually uses it for globally unique numbers. I'd rather presume that the number is unique per lens type. The examples I have seen all seem to use "three bytes" or less. Three bytes support 16.8M unique numbers. Canon has produced a lot more lenses than that since they started coding this number into their lenses. And I have seen examples of younger lenses with smaller numbers than older lenses. That would at least be unusual for a globally unique number. \$\endgroup\$
    – cmuseum
    Jan 14, 2019 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do cameras control IS without the right firmware? \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Feb 6, 2019 at 19:49

Based on my version of LR (6 standalone) this information is not displayed (see below) LR EXIF

From other site when I try XNview (no affiliate with the software) I see in Properties->ExifTool the serial number of my lens. XNview

So for me Adobe do not display all the meta information. My advice is to use other tool(s)

P.S. And one clarification, this is NOT the serial number of my lens (as I can read it on the lens itself). So seems like camera do not include it (on correct way). When I check with other (again Canon camera with Canon lens) I do not see at all lens serial number in LR. But in XNview I see the correct serial number of lens.


Whether the lens serial number is included in image metadata depends on both the lens and camera. Many Canon cameras and lenses do not communicate the lens serial number. The only reliable way to know whether a particular combination provides the information you desire is to check for it in images.

Many graphical-interface metadata viewers do not show all available tags. Use exiftool instead.

# all metadata
exiftool -a -G image.jpg

# serial number (camera body)
exiftool -a -SerialNumber image.jpg

# internal serial number (camera body)
exiftool -a -InternalSerialNumber image.jpg

# serial number (lens)
exiftool -a -LensSerialNumber image.jpg

# internal serial number (lens)
#    On Mac or Linux, try:
#       exiftool -a -G image.jpg | grep -iE 'lens|serial|internal' 
#    None of the cameras-lens combinations available to me
#    produced any tags with this info.
#    Anyone who can confirm the name of the tag, feel free to
#    edit to include the command with the correct tag name.
  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried the script provided. I lost my NIKON D5100 camera with 18-55 lenses with two extra lenses 55-300 and 85mm f/3.5. Im using your script to extract out the metadata but havent been able to get the Lens serial numbers. Im running it on Windows. I tried looking at the metadata lightroom and XNviewmp too. Please help as i need to provide the info to the police so they can track it down. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 15, 2019 at 7:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShipraSingh Make sure you replace image.jpg in the examples with a filename of one of your images. If you cannot figure it out, recommend finding someone who can help you in person. (Try asking at a camera store or photo processing lab.) \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Jun 15, 2019 at 21:46

The lens serial number isn't set in any picture I have. Photos from my 450D haven't even got the field, and those from my EOS70D have the field, but set to all zeroes.

Reporting the lens S/N is likely a recent feature, and to see it requires a recent camera and a recent lens while your lens design is from 1992...

To grab the data, there are other tools than LR...

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not exactly (about new lens ad cameras), I get correct number (in XNview) with older camera and older lens. But not with newer \$\endgroup\$ Nov 10, 2018 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov What specific camera and lens? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Nov 10, 2018 at 14:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark , "new" is 700D with 10-18, "old" is 5D Mark III with 16-35/f4 \$\endgroup\$ Nov 10, 2018 at 14:44
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The reason the "newer" 700D does not record the lens ID is probably because it is not capable of AFMA, and thus does not need to discriminate between two different copies of the same lens model. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Nov 10, 2018 at 15:53

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