My bet is that Tamron or Canon will do it first and do it right. Unfortunately, Nikon is incapable of producing an excellent super zoom like the Tamron 28-200 Super II or the 28-300. The Nikon 28-200 was dissapointing, to say the least. It couldn't close focus and wasn't too sharp either. What I would do if I were you is get 28-300 Tamron, and if you need 24mm, simply take two steps back; or shell out the extra $250 for the 24mm Nikkor prime.
The complexity of building such a lens makes it currently unaffordable and therefore unbuildable (?). Prior attempts have been poor as mentioned above. The longest (5X) zoom to this date seems to be the 80-400mm VR. Have a great time JRP (Nikonian at the north-eastern Mexican desert) My profile Previous photographic journey, before Nikonians: A Brief Love Story
Actually, the Sigma 50-500 exceeds the VR by a few multiples. This zoom checks out to be more like 50-460mm, but that's still 9.2X. I was quite surprised by how well the Sigma performs.
However, there's a tradeoff that wasn't mentioned in the wishlist of features. The 50-500 is a blunderbuss of a lens. It's big, it's heavy, and it's the last lens I'd buy if I really wanted to shoot in the 50-100mm focal range.
Even if a 24-300 2.8 lens were technically feasible, you'd be looking at a ridiculously large lens to accomplish the goal. The lens would have to be significantly larger than a fixed focal length 300mm 2.8. The front element would be huge, as would filter size. The additional optical tricks needed to do the zoom with reasonable performance would make this one heavy beast of a lens.
Would the "dream" superzoom's convenience make up for it being an neck-breaking lens that you would have to live with all the time? Sounds more like a nightmare to me.
In fact, VR wasn't the primary reason I spent the extra $600 to get the 80-400 VR Nikkor over the Sigma. The Nikkor is a much more reasonable size and weight and it uses filters that also fit my 18-35mm Nikkor zoom. After the purchase, VR has won me over as the best way to extend the low light performance of a long tele without getting into extremely expensive (and very large) lenses.
Another functional problem for the hypothetical 24-300 would include a lens hood that is effective at 24mm and which would be nearly worthless at longer focal lengths.
And the price? I assume you'd want AF-S AF performance in this dream lens. I'd expect a lens the size of small submarine would cost about as much. Perhaps some future exotic lens technology will make such a dream lens both possible and practical.
I'm in your corner on this one. We all make compromises but with this one you are dealing with incredible weight (probably), flare proneness, megabuck filter costs and a size that will probably mean that you'd have to carry two camera bags--one just for this lens. As to the 2.8 speed gathering capability...A roll of ISO 800 film covers that problem. My kit that would equal this proposed perfect lens would be the 24-85 2.8-4 AF nikkor and the 70-300 4-5.6 AF nikkor. Both would probably weigh 5 or 6 lbs. less than the proposed lens, both are sharp, one even has ED glass and the cost savings would probably mean you could fly to tokyo to pick up the pair and have money left over to have a good old time to boot. Keith D. Smith
Charles, Check out the review of the Tokina 24-200 mm 3.5-5.6 in July (or maybe June?, It has the film review in it) Popular Photography. It is no 2.8, but it looks like it might be the best wide angle contender for all-in-one zoom. It might be a good lens for travelling light, but I would wait for further reviews. BTW, this issue also reviews the new 80-400 mm VR lens.
You are correct Charles about the 24-200 mm. I picked the 35-300 mm Tokina as an example because the original question was about a 24-300 mm zoom. As you know, the minimum focussing distance (MFD) of a zoom is largely determined by the long end of the zoom range.
The MFD of 8.3 feet for the 35-300 mm Tokina seems excessive, when you consider that the VR 80-400 mm Nikkor has an MFD of 7.5 feet.
Wait-a-sec - My theory about the minimum focusing distance (MFD) being determined by the long end of the zoom range just suffered a setback: I just looked up the MFD for the Sigma 50-500 mm and it's variable from 3.3 feet at 50 mm to 9.8 feet at 500 mm.
But still, who wants a 50 mm lens with an MFD of 3.3 feet.
Right you are, George. I guess versatility never entered my mind.
As I wondered why it hadn't, it occurred to me that I have never used my Nikkor VR 80-400 at any focal length other than 400 mm, which is not too surprising, since I use it only for wildlife and soccer games.
I use my 3 AF-S zooms for everything else.
Bob (Nikonian at the western Quebec/Ontario border)
Have you all seen Tamron's new 24-135? And no, I don't own the Tamron 28-200 any more; I sold it to get the 35-70 f/2.8 Nikkor, which I sold to get the 105 Micro Nikkor which I sold to the get the 70-180. Such is the life of the used lens market... All great lens