On this day in 1947, Dr. Frank Gerard Back demonstrated the first camera with a zoom feature. This feature was made possible by the invention of the “varifocal lens.” Prior to this invention, photographers were required to move their cameras closer to their object to simulate “zoom.” Dr. Back first showed off his invention at a baseball game. The varifocal lens was patented a year later in 1948.
Photographic and videographic technology has come a very long way in the past 60 years. The use of zoom in film and television is so pervasive, that we often take it for granted! Ever wonder how Discovery Channel films for Shark Week? Check out Catching a Shark Bite on Camera [02:37].