This paper uses the approach of cultural history to examine E. Krauss et Cie, a Parisian optical company whose anastigmatic lenses were used on early Lumière Cinematographes and Pathé Studio cameras. Anastigmats may have been used in early motion picture cameras because their scientific design was best suited to the image taking needs of cinematography.However, by examining early cinema lenses in the context of fin-de-siècle Paris, this paper suggests that the use of E. Krauss lenses was informed by a variety of factors that were not limited to scientific definitions of lens quality