At last, it begins: the finest 24mm lenses on earth, each group finalist having proven its mettle against the best of its peers: the Canon 24mm f1.4 L – king of the fast primes; Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 AFS – still potent at 24mm (despite peaking at 20mm); against the boy from nowhere – the tiny, clearance-sale-price, gem-like Olympus 24mm f2.8.

The weather here at the Überjenaköchen stadium is pretty variable: some fast moving cloud causing difficulties for the referee, but we’ve waited long enough . . . the contenders for the title of the Best of the Best make their way onto the pitch . . .

24mm Lenses

Oh, now we don’t like to see that: the crowd is actually laughing at the Zuiko . . . cries of ‘short aaaaarse, short aaaaarse’ are coming – I think – from . . . yes, it started in the Nikon supporters enclosure. Nikon remember, today field their two pound, five inch Sumo-style monster which steamrollered its way through the opening rounds through sheer mass . . . and now Canon takes up the chant: ‘she fell over . . . she fell over . . .’

Canon, you might recall, recently defended criticism that their professional players were overpriced and offered little entertainment value . . . warming up now in their black livery with the single red stripe, there’s a sense that they resent sharing the field with such humble opponents: indeed their 24L is so much faster than the opposition, many have questioned whether the result is a foregone conclusion. Certainly they look confident: twice the size, three times the weight and five times the price of the Olympus, they’re in good shape to face their long-standing foe, Nikon, and they must fancy their chances today.

The Canon has the home advantage, of course; both its rivals are playing away in Canon EF adaptors: FotoDiox Pro for the Nikon; CameraQuest for the Olympus. That could cause trouble later.

The Japanese anthem plays (three times); the players spit on the ground, readjust their groins, and cross themselves in anticipation. Let’s get the ball rolling.