Unistellar announced its eVscope 2 back in September. The electronic telescope just needs to be connected to your phone, and then you can start admiring the objects of the deep sky with the invisible naked eye. It’s an intriguing piece of technology, that’s for sure, but does it meet its price of $ 4,199 (plus $ 59)?
This year has been a great year for Unistellar. The company has been around since its first Kickstarter in 2017 for the original eVscope. But this year, Unistellar released its second product, eVscope eQuinox, which I had the opportunity to try and review this summer.
All in all, I enjoyed using eQuinox, but there were some software changes I really wanted to see, and the biggest change was in reliability. As I said in my eQuinox review:
Night viewing of deep sky objects should not be interrupted by the application itself crashing or turning off the phone and telescope.
So when Unistellar announced eVscope 2 in September, I was eager to get my hands on the unit. I wanted to see if the team at Unistelar had solved the reliability issues I encountered (warning for the spoiler, yes).
There are several telescopes such as eVscope. Unistellar has really forged a path for a state-of-the-art, smart, all-in-one telescope. If you’re looking for a smart telescope, your options are currently basically eVscope 2 ($ 4,199), eVscope eQuinox ($ 2,999) or Stellina ($ 3,999).
Using eVscope 2
The first night with eVscope 2, I made the same settings changes as with eQuinox, enabled “automatic image saving when exiting Enhanced Vision” and disabled “Add overlay when capturing an image”, and then started taking photos. Shamefully, I forgot to take a dark shot before I shot my first “Enhanced Vision” image, so this was my first image with eVscope 2:
It could have been a pretty good picture, but those red and blue hot pixels don’t look great. That should serve as a reminder, always take a dark box! It’s really simple with eVscope. Just put the lid on the telescope and go to the “User” page of the app. Select “Take Dark Frame” and let the telescope capture images with the cover attached.
With these dark frames, it adjusts and automatically fixes hot pixels.
I mentioned Enhanced Vision earlier, and that’s really what makes this range special (and where eVscope got its name from). Enhanced Vision is Unistelar’s name for automatic image stacking. This stacking allows otherwise invisible deep sky objects to become visible. As I wrote in my review of eVscope eQuinox:
He constantly photographs the object, stacking the best in layers and ignoring the bad ones. Dark frames, taken earlier, also work the most here. Stacking photos is nothing new, it’s a way for all astrophotographers to create clear images of such dark deep sky objects. Even live stacking, where you watch the image slowly improve with each photo taken, has been around for many years. None of this can compare to the ease of use of Unistellar’s eVscope… other live stacking techniques require a computer connected to the tracking telescope, but also connected to the camera on the telescope. In a standard telescope setup, there are a variety of adjustment settings, from camera settings to image rejection and alignment settings in the software. The [eVscope] it all works automatically.
Using eVscope 2 was easy. It was extremely easy to take pictures of deep sky objects.
Using the telescope was so easy that we decided to do our first space astronomical night. Broadcasting the range display and recording the phone screen, we had a relaxed evening watching the objects around the night sky for several hours.
eVscope 2 vs eVscope eQuinox
Using eVscope was certainly a good experience, but how does it actually differ from the cheaper eVscope eQuinox for $ 1,199? The first and most noticeable way it differs from eQuinox is by turning on the eyepiece. In partnership with Nikon, Unistellar created an electronic eyepiece on eVscope 2.
I definitely think that having an eyepiece is much better than not having it, but I would really like the view to be rectangular, to match the shape of the sensor. As it is, you have a round cutout of the image visible through the eyepiece. I didn’t find it too spectacular, and you have to be careful when using it not to hit the eVscope or you could spoil the sky tracking, but I definitely think the sight is better for owning an eyepiece. I mentioned in my review of eQuinox:
Viewing these objects through the phone screen creates a certain disconnection. That mental break as a result of the digital screen is widespread enough that in the Kickstarter FAQ for the original eVscope team, Unistellar said, “Yes, that’s real, we’re NOT doing any overlapping of any existing image. The image is formed from photons that collect at the moment you observe. You do astronomy, you don’t watch a movie. ”
I think that interruption is mostly alleviated if you have an eyepiece, even a digital one. Out of curiosity, I my followers asked on Twitter whether the electronic eyepiece on cameras without mirrors has made the photo-taking experience less authentic. 60% said no, no, while 40% believe that electronic eyepieces have taken away the experience. Take what you want.
Another addition to eVscope 2 is a backpack. The backpack contains a telescope with space for storing all chargers or additional tools. It has a place to place the eyepiece cover as well as caps and masks. The tripod is attached to the outside of the backpack. Honestly, I think a backpack is a really good addition. Carrying such an expensive telescope in the box in which it came, or without a holster, is really not ideal. The included backpack is similar in style to hiking backpacks and is a comfortable way to carry around the telescope. With eQuinox, the backpack is an additional purchase of $ 429.
eVscope 2 uses a Sony IMX347 sensor, while eQuinox uses a Sony IMX224 sensor. eVscope 2 also has a slightly higher resolution and a slightly wider field of view (34 x 47 arcmin for eVscope 2, 27 x 37 arcmin for eVscope eQuinox).
Honestly, from actual use, I think the only part of these changes that you will notice will be the wider field of view. As a result, the fully stacked JPEGs aren’t terribly sharp, so I don’t feel like more megapixels have done too much.
- Optical magnification: 50x
- Digital zoom: up to 400x (150x recommended maximum)
- maximum magnitude: <16 in the night sky of medium quality in less than a minute, to 17.7 in excellent conditions in a few minutes
- Field of view: 34 arcmin x 47 arcmin
- Resolution power: 1.33 arcseconds
- Mirror diameter: 4.5in
- Focal: 450mm
- Motorized Alt-Az carrier with exceptional tracking accuracy thanks to automated celestial feedback tracking
- Weight: 19.8 lbs (9 kg) including tripod
Should you buy eVscope 2?
As I get to the end of the article, I find myself in a very similar place where I was with the review of eVscope eQuinox … but I think I have a firmer answer to the question I asked. At the end of that review, I said:
Who is eVscope eQuinox for?
This is a question I keep coming back to. It’s hard to recommend eQuinox to most professional astrophotographers who would rather collect raw images with modified DSLR bodies, tracking media, and more manual processing. With $ 2,999, it’s definitely expensive for people who are just casually interested in astronomy, but if a comprehensive solution is what you’re looking for, eQuinox is the right choice.
eVscope 2 is even more expensive than eQuinox. It’s even harder to recommend to someone who is just casually interested in astronomy. But my experience with eVscope 2 (mostly due to software improvements) was just a lot smoother. It was a completely enjoyable experience. I didn’t worry about turning off the phone, I didn’t worry about losing the image, I could really enjoy using the telescope to look at things in the night sky that I had never seen before.
I see Jared using their own The setting more focused on astrophotography really helped me understand the value of eVscope. Setting up for eVscope 2 involves setting up a tripod, placing a tripod on it, and then operating it with your phone. That’s it. You don’t have to worry about polar alignment, settings, target finding, image processing, or anything like that.
I think eVscope 2 is an even better option for places like Dalion’s Sidewalk Science Center Experience. The viewfinder makes it easy to share with others without having to explain that your phone is connected and displays a live view from the sights.
Education is one of the places where the scope could be particularly useful – to inspire children to explore and learn about the stars and how different objects are created in space. Unistellar recognizes the importance of this education and during World Space Week teamed up with SETI to share space discoveries.
Another great way to use the scope is to support Unistellar’s Citizen Science efforts. I would still like to see better, automatic integration with the app, but with eVscope 2, you can join other eVscope owners to help gather information about exoplanets, asteroids and more. One of these Citizen Science events is coming this week, as ESA’s Solar Orbiter makes its last flight past Earth (I know I’ll be looking for it outside, as long as the clouds work together).
Using eVscope 2 was simply a pleasant experience and it is hard not to recommend it. Those looking to dive deep into astrophotography will surely go out and find mounts, optical tubes and cameras to meet their specific needs, but eVscope 2 offers a comprehensive solution that doesn’t require the same time and knowledge as other settings.
The resulting photos will not be of the same quality as dedicated devices, but you cannot have a complete photo on your phone within ten minutes of starting to set up the telescope with any other option.
In my opinion, the main question if you are in the market for an all-in-one municipality and you are willing to spend money is whether you opt for eVscope 2 or eQuinox. Both will provide a great experience, so how much do you appreciate the slightly wider field of view and the eVscope 2 electronic eyepiece?
eVscope 2 (backpack included): $ 4,199 + $ 59 postage on the Unistelar website
eVscope eQuinox (without backpack): $ 2,999 with free shipping on the Amazon
eVscope eQuinox (backpack package): $ 3,428 with free shipping on the Amazon
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