What Did I Learn from My EAA Experiences?

Electronic Telescopes | Cameras | Preliminary Conclusions | Links

On this page, I try to answer the question of what I have learned from my various EAA experiences. On the one hand, it is about the electronic telescopes that I have used and still use, and on the other hand, about the cameras that I have used and still use in configurations I have put together myself. Of course, this answer will be very personal, but it may still be of interest to others.


Electronic Telescopes

I used (and since sold) the Unistellar eVscope and eVscope 2 telescopes, as well as the Vaonis Vespera, which I also sold, and the Vaonis Vespera Pro, which I still own.

Note: The information about the eVscope and eVscope 2 are also valid for the eQuinox and eQuinox 2.

Unistellar eVscope

The Unistellar eVscope was my first electronic or "smart" telescope; it's a Newtonian telescope that has a sensor instead of a secondary mirror. I bought it a little more cheaply through a Kickstarter campaign. Despite all the technical problems I had, especially at the beginning, I have observed the most DSO with it of all my telescopes so far - almost 300. On the one hand, I have seen pretty much everything that SkySafari showed me in terms of DSO. Of course, a lot of it was small and inconspicuous, but at least I had visited it and now I knew about it! On the other hand, the fact that you can observe most objects in 2-5 minutes played an important role. Rarely do you need longer (possibly for better photos), so you can easily visit 20-30 (and more) DSOs in one evening. You can get away with it!

Because the eVscope normally only requires short observation times, it is much more suitable than other "smart" telescopes for sharing observations with other people. Especially with children, but also with many adults, patience is exhausted after a few minutes, and it makes no sense to wait 15 or 30 minutes for an "even better" image. By then everyone will have run away!

The biggest criticism of the eVscope (and its successors) in the relevant forums, apart from the price, is always the image quality (or the combination of both...). I can only confirm this, although some objects are better suited to the eVscope than others (large nebulae, for example, are completely unsuitable). Unistellar has repeatedly "tweaked" the image quality, but not everything has improved (e.g. globular clusters, until then a domain of the eVscope, now wash out in the center). However, it should be borne in mind that not every application requires optimum image quality. This is especially desired if you want to do "low cost" astrophotography with the eVscope. But if you want to show other people DSO on your smartphone, this is not necessary, especially as you will only be exposing for a few minutes anyway.

And there are other cases that do not require optimum image quality. I only recently "stumbled across" such an application of the eVscope in a forum, which I had already tried to some extent. Due to its comparatively large aperture and the focal ratio of f/4, the eVscope can show objects up to a magnitude of 18. Some amateur astronomers take advantage of this property to go "galaxy hunting". They photograph regions of the sky, search the photos for small fuzzy dots, as these are presumably galaxies and not stars, and try to identify them. Very short exposure times of 1-2 minutes are sufficient to make the objects visible. Supernovae can also be found without the image being "optimal". I cannot judge the extent to which scientific applications require good image quality, as I have never taken part in them.

All in all, the eVscope has "opened the sky" for me and I have learned many new things with its help. In this respect, I do not want to complain about the inadequate image quality (at most about the app, which is always buggy...), especially as devices with better image quality have now come onto the market and will continue to do so. The only thing you could complain about is the self-praise that Unistellar gives of itself in the highest terms and which, in the opinion of many, including myself, has little to do with reality...

Many of the things I liked about the eVscope are certainly due to the fact that it was my first "smart" telescope (I sold it after I bought an eVscope 2). However, I really miss its high "observation speed". Waiting one to three hours for a result, as with the Vaonis Vespera, is difficult for me. But that is the way it is when the focus shifts from observation (EAA) to "simple" astrophotography (based on EAA). While 5-10 minutes of observation time are usually sufficient for pure EAA, there are hardly any limits in terms of time and effort when trying to achieve beautiful photos. However, I myself try to keep the post-processing effort as low as possible.

I cannot understand the prices that Unistellar charges for its telescopes, but by participating in the Kickstarter campaign for the eVscope, I was able to purchase it at a much lower price.

What have I learned? The eVscope was certainly a good choice as a "smart entry-level telescope", even if the buggy app cost me a lot of nerves. The observations run "quickly" (within a few minutes), which gave me access to many DSOs and also makes it suitable as a "demonstration telescope". The image quality of the eVscope cannot compete with that of other "smart" telescopes, but not every application requires optimal image quality. Some applications, such as the search for galaxies, can also be best operated with the eVscope. In this respect, it very much depends on what you want to do with the telescope and what you do not; in case of doubt, the eVscope can be a good complement to other "smart" telescopes (if you want to make the effort - I do not).

Unistellar eVscope 2

I purchased the Unistellar eVscope 2 after I had already supported the Vaonis Vespera. The reason for buying the eVscope 2 was the sample photos from Unistellar, certain technical improvements over the eVscope (e.g. a slightly larger field of view, a new sensor) and a discount for eVscope owners (at the time, the eVscope 2 was also significantly cheaper than later). I then sold the eVscope so as not to own too many telescopes.

Unfortunately, the eVscope 2 was a disappointment right from the start in terms of image quality; the photos I took with it never came close to the sample photos from Unistellar. I needed three copies before the image quality was reasonably satisfactory. In the end, I sold the eVscope 2 because it was competing with my Vaonis Vespera, which has better image quality but also requires longer exposure times.

In retrospect, I am annoyed in the first place that I bought the eVscope 2 - or at least did not return it straight away. At least, I learned that I should be more cautious about buying new equipment and wait until I have reliable information about the image quality. The sale of the eVscope 2 was then associated with a large financial loss (but I would not have wanted to take more money because of the image quality...), which I could/should have spared myself...

Vaonis Vespera

I also bought the Vaonis Vespera via a Kickstarter campaign and therefore at a slightly lower price. I opted for the Vespera because the different technology (refracting telescope) appealed to me (I almost bought the Stellina beforehand, but luckily I was able to control myself...). The Vespera could also have been a good addition to the eVscope and eVscope 2, but in the end I decided against it and just kept the Vespera. I had already learned my lessons with the eVscope (2), and I did not expect much more new from the eVscopes...

With the Vespera, I actually entered a "new world". To put it bluntly, the Vespera can do what the eVscope cannot and vice versa. So I went from being a star cluster and galaxy photographer to a nebula photographer. Many of the objects that I could just about photograph with the eVscope become so tiny with the Vespera that it no longer makes sense to observe them. Instead, the Vespera can be used to photograph larger objects, especially since the mosaic mode is available, which really is a game changer. But it is not just the field of view that is larger with the mosaic mode, the image quality is also better. Walking pattern noise is suppressed by dithering and hot pixels are apparently also suppressed. Some Vespera owners therefore only take mosaics, but this goes hand in hand with much longer exposure times.

On the one hand, I learned about walking pattern noise and dithering, on the other hand, I also entered the world of filters with nebula photography, because the Vespera can be used with two optional filters, a light pollution filter (CLS) and a Dual Band filter, the use of which needs to be tried out and learned.

Many Vespera owners put a lot of effort into post-processing their photos, almost getting into "real" astrophotography. However, not all the results convince me... When post-processing my photos, I have remained true to my simple and quick methods, because I want to keep the effort involved in post-processing to a minimum; I have not implemented the Affinity Photo tutorials. However, I use Topaz DeNoise AI, a noise removal software; but it is fast to apply...

What have I learned from the Vaonis Vespera? As already written, a lot. And I have largely abandoned the EAA concept, i.e. short exposure times and "fast observing", and over time I have, especially in mosaic mode, used longer and longer exposure times (up to three hours) and also tried to take photos of higher quality. For better or worse, like most owners of smart telescopes (in recent times...), I have "slipped" towards astrophotography, even though, as I wrote, I put little effort into post-processing.

After receiving a Vespera Pro in May 2024 (pre-ordered in June 2023), I sold my Vespera in June 2024 because I want to keep my telescope park small.

Vaonis Vesp

An den Anfang   Homepage  

gerd (at) waloszek (dot) de

About me
made by walodesign on a mac!