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What happened to the Unistellar eVscope?

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#51 ALman

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 06:51 PM

Forward Scatter,

Thank you for reading my post. In addition I also think you make some excellent points. Equipment manufacturers in the Casual Astronomy Market should be aware of the potential introduction of a software freeware solutions wiping out their market very suddenly. This is why most large manufacturers try to offer perceivable quality and reliability improvements over the free options.

The polemaster is a great example of this. Free solutions such as PHD2 polar alignment tool and the Synscan Mobile Polar Alignment routine do a surprisingly excellent job of aligning an equatorial mount for most people. The polmaster needed to offer a simpler experience and higher quality product to convince the consumers to use their product. In this, they have done very well.

I am concerned that unlike the polemaster, when the freeware solution comes (And it will!) The eVscope will be a very low quality second class goto scope in comparison. Especially for the money. If you and I can convert our Nexstar or LX200 to do exactly the same thing, why wouldn't you do that instead?

This is what worries me about the eVscope.
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#52 Forward Scatter

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 09:53 PM

Forward Scatter,

Thank you for reading my post. In addition I also think you make some excellent points. Equipment manufacturers in the Casual Astronomy Market should be aware of the potential introduction of a software freeware solutions wiping out their market very suddenly. This is why most large manufacturers try to offer perceivable quality and reliability improvements over the free options.

The polemaster is a great example of this. Free solutions such as PHD2 polar alignment tool and the Synscan Mobile Polar Alignment routine do a surprisingly excellent job of aligning an equatorial mount for most people. The polmaster needed to offer a simpler experience and higher quality product to convince the consumers to use their product. In this, they have done very well.

I am concerned that unlike the polemaster, when the freeware solution comes (And it will!) The eVscope will be a very low quality second class goto scope in comparison. Especially for the money. If you and I can convert our Nexstar or LX200 to do exactly the same thing, why wouldn't you do that instead?

This is what worries me about the eVscope.

We all do recognize that the vendors that market to a broad range of needs/wants and abilities/expertise such as Orion, Skywatcher & Celestron, are walking the tightrope between visual and imaging (AP/EAA). EAA, being still a fairly small market, will still be dominated by folks cobbling and kludging together their rigs for some time. Fortunately EAA'ers do tend to be tinkerers for the most part! Putting together my EAA rig has been fun and rewarding (visual only for >45years prior). Most of the connectivity and software issues I had could be solved pretty easily as that's what I do as part of my day job, and the ones I couldn't figure out, I could find a solution on CN.

 

But as LP gets worse and the hobby grays out, the market will necessitate a shift to easy-to-set up all-in-one, alt/azi EAA rig that all the parts wirelessly connect for near instant gratification. Such a scope could probably be put together by any of the big manufacturers with already proven components.  Not everyone wants to spend time doing PA on the GEM or trying to troubleshoot why the DEC axis is sticking when calibrating PHD2. Unless the profit growth for such rigs don't increase 15% per quarter, no large manufacturer will head down that path.

 

If the Stellina and eVscope manufacturers seem like they are overselling, well...just look at the boxes for the low end telescopes the major brands use or peruse the catalogs/websites. Just how many display Hubble images or very excellent AP images of M31? Nonetheless it'll be interesting to see what they finally deliver. I wish them success but I will be skeptical until either scope lives up to the flashy PR. Remember all the Segway hype? Now it's relegated to tours down the SF Embarcadero and mall cops.


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#53 Augustus

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 10:02 PM

We all do recognize that the vendors that market to a broad range of needs/wants and abilities/expertise such as Orion, Skywatcher & Celestron, are walking the tightrope between visual and imaging (AP/EAA). EAA, being still a fairly small market, will still be dominated by folks cobbling and kludging together their rigs for some time. Fortunately EAA'ers do tend to be tinkerers for the most part! Putting together my EAA rig has been fun and rewarding (visual only for >45years prior). Most of the connectivity and software issues I had could be solved pretty easily as that's what I do as part of my day job, and the ones I couldn't figure out, I could find a solution on CN.

 

But as LP gets worse and the hobby grays out, the market will necessitate a shift to easy-to-set up all-in-one, alt/azi EAA rig that all the parts wirelessly connect for near instant gratification. Such a scope could probably be put together by any of the big manufacturers with already proven components.  Not everyone wants to spend time doing PA on the GEM or trying to troubleshoot why the DEC axis is sticking when calibrating PHD2. Unless the profit growth for such rigs don't increase 15% per quarter, no large manufacturer will head down that path.

 

If the Stellina and eVscope manufacturers seem like they are overselling, well...just look at the boxes for the low end telescopes the major brands use or peruse the catalogs/websites. Just how many display Hubble images or very excellent AP images of M31? Nonetheless it'll be interesting to see what they finally deliver. I wish them success but I will be skeptical until either scope lives up to the flashy PR. Remember all the Segway hype? Now it's relegated to tours down the SF Embarcadero and mall cops.

IMO the market for EAA is vastly overstated. Most of the young folks getting into astronomy whom I've met and worked with want to see things with their own eyes or take really high-quality photos to impress their friends, and are willing to commit to learning either. EAA offers neither of those things.


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#54 ALman

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 10:40 PM

I acknowledge that I have been very harsh on the eVscope. I still wish them no ill. My comments are intended as a practical critique as a person that would prefer they succeed rather than fail. I believe if they delivered some people would be very happy to have a nice shinny eVscope to share the skies with their friends. 

 

On the Stellina. I believe they HAVE delivered. I have heard some fantastic reviews and the design appears well thought out. Good design is what I suspect the eVscope does not have. I heard the hosts of the Space Junk Podcast have tried the Stellina and had great results. This is great to hear because the initial marketing of the Stellina was conservative compared to the eVscope. I suspect this long term will have been the better placement for a product of this type.


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#55 Forward Scatter

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 11:36 PM

IMO the market for EAA is vastly overstated. Most of the young folks getting into astronomy whom I've met and worked with want to see things with their own eyes or take really high-quality photos to impress their friends, and are willing to commit to learning either. EAA offers neither of those things.

Hi Augustus

At the local club, there was one person doing EAA but two years ago. Lots of phobia about stray photons at the local darkish site. Now it seems about a third of the regulars are EAAing. Major reasons include the 15" Obsession is just a bit harder on the back, not wanting to invest in a Takahaski and still get pretty good images, the eyesight is getting a bit too foggy to finish finding the fainter Hickson Group members, and the ever expanding light dome from the city and burbs. EAA is still probably best described as a niche market within an already niche market!

 

Cheers!


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#56 GOLGO13

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 10:12 AM

I do think people on here need to realize how niche the telescope market really is. A normal newbie is only likely to spend 300-500 on a telescope to look at the moon/planets. 

 

That's why these scopes that cost above $1000 will not bring in too many random people not already into this hobby in my opinion. It's have to be something like $500-$800 in my opinion. Which I do think should be possible sometime. But initially these appear to be priced a bit high.

 

$4000 for the Stellina is only going to apply to people in the hobby who do not want to do AP traditionally, but want to do a little bit of it easily...and have a lot of money.

 

I still find NV to be more appealing to me as a visual observer. But it's somewhat a different thing I suppose (realtime vs non-real time).

 

I think something like the Stellina would be a consideration for me if it were $1000. But it's way too much for me at this point.


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#57 Augustus

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 10:26 AM

I do think people on here need to realize how niche the telescope market really is. A normal newbie is only likely to spend 300-500 on a telescope to look at the moon/planets.

That's why these scopes that cost above $1000 will not bring in too many random people not already into this hobby in my opinion. It's have to be something like $500-$800 in my opinion. Which I do think should be possible sometime. But initially these appear to be priced a bit high.

$4000 for the Stellina is only going to apply to people in the hobby who do not want to do AP traditionally, but want to do a little bit of it easily...and have a lot of money.

I still find NV to be more appealing to me as a visual observer. But it's somewhat a different thing I suppose (realtime vs non-real time).

I think something like the Stellina would be a consideration for me if it were $1000. But it's way too much for me at this point.


Well said.
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#58 Rickster

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 01:25 PM

Are any of this thread's naysayers currently engaged in EAA?  I am not going to make any positive prognostications about whether or not the business will succeed.  Statistically, the odds are against all new business endeavors.  But I will say that I find the opinions of some of the naysayers to be out of touch with the current EAA trend.


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#59 ALman

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 06:33 PM

Hello,
I can speak for Australia I the sense that in my previous role, I used to do some training with beginners. I did notice that EAA was being used by older gentlemen who eyepieces were becoming a problem to use. EAA provided a way for these older blokes to continue the hobby they loved. I did see it used successfully with people with disability access needs from wheelchairs. And this seemed like a great idea to me and I hope eVscope and the like can contribute to these groups. Unfortunately less so with the eVscope due to the eyepiece being at the top.

Edited by ALman, 14 November 2019 - 07:20 PM.

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#60 jprideaux

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 08:17 PM

I’m interested in either getting the Stellina, the eVscooe, or building my own EAA system out of parts. If I built my own, I’m thinking if the following;
Rasa8, iOptron az-pro (2” tripod), 294-cooled camera, light pollution filter, mini-computer, large capacity lithium battery, due heater controller and straps, ...

Building such a system will be well over $4000. Perhaps over $5000. It makes the $4000 Stellina not seem all that expensive (if it turns out to be nice).
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#61 Forward Scatter

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 08:53 PM

I wonder what dew protection for the Stellina would need, or how well the nonoptical parts could handle dew.


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#62 Forward Scatter

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 01:21 AM

Are any of this thread's naysayers currently engaged in EAA?  I am not going to make any positive prognostications about whether or not the business will succeed.  Statistically, the odds are against all new business endeavors.  But I will say that I find the opinions of some of the naysayers to be out of touch with the current EAA trend.

Hi Rick

I've been 95% EAA with a kludged 6" newt & AVX (in my gallery) for about 6 years now after 45 years running visible & film AP. With an ever evolving assortment of computers, cameras and software of course. Pretty reasonable weight and fits in the tiny trunk of my Mazda 2. Not really interested in upgrading to a Tak or C14 or an ASI294 with ASIAir.  Out of touch with EAA trends? Maybe, but really more like out of my mind for the most part!

Should I be doing sketching with a 16" Dob instead? Nahhhh. I flunked art and penmanship in grade school, so EAA it is!

drool5.gif


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#63 OleCuss

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 05:21 AM

I'd be betting there are a million people who would spend $4,000 for something like a Stellina or similar.  They just need to know of it and what it will do.

 

There are a whole lot of people who have a bunch of money available and consider almost everything to be an accessory to their smartphone.  Give them a crack at an astro-optical camera which will given them a new image on that phone which they can then post onto FaceBook and InstaGram?  They'll be all over that.

 

Even better if it requires minimal maintenance and they can be sipping a little wine in the backyard at a party and be capturing views of a galaxy or two at the same time and view those on a monitor?  Yup, they'll be all over that.  They can buy it for the cost of a few bottles of the wine they are drinking.

 

I don't fit those demographics at this time (and likely never will), but they are out there.  And if the marketing is good there are more or them than there are of us.

 

And as someone else noted, Some of us who have a few years on us whose eyes aren't so good, our backs aren't that great, and our homes are smaller than they used to be.  You may find us selling off a bunch of heavy and bulky gear in order to get something like a Stellina with 4" aperture and truly apochromatic optics and a bigger sensor.  Give 'em a few years and they may be making that AOC.

 

Personally, if I could get that 4" and were convinced it was good, I'd probably be working on selling stuff today in order raise the $4,000 to get the upgraded Stellina.  A back and knee which really don't like some of my bigger scopes, floaters, and cataracts which are degrading vision but aren't bad enough to qualify for getting the surgery - means that the better Stellina would be an obvious no-hassle option.

 

Now figure how many older folk have the money for such a scope, how many like sharing with their grandkids, add in a rich urban demographic which lives to post stuff to social media?  The potential market is enormous if one can reach them with their marketing.

 

I'd also note that I'd partly want to get the Stellina-type scope for outreach which means I'd be marketing the thing as well.

 

The potential is enormous but I doubt it will be reached.

 

 

Edit:  Note that my wife doesn't want to have any camera which doesn't make it easy to post the image onto FaceBook.  The world doesn't work as it used to.


Edited by OleCuss, 15 November 2019 - 05:23 AM.

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#64 cmooney91

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 09:05 AM

I do think the price is steep.  

 

My EAA kit consist of:

$130 Meade Mini LightBridge 114mm (4.5") f4 newt

$165 RisingCam IMX224

$160 Beelink S1 mini PC

~$200 Onsteped vintage SP GEM (a used nexstar would work)

 

Total ~$655

 

It has the same optics and sensor as the EVscope, and I have been very happy with it. (scooping up mag 16 abell gx cluster members from my bortle 5 driveway in seconds, while staying nice and warm inside)

 

Granted, I had to do the research and piece it together and then learn how to use it, but it was a rewarding process and I've gained a deeper understanding that will help me move forward.

 

The EVscope seems like a nice turn-key integrated solution, but I personally don't think the ease of use is worth an additional $2344, especially since it comes at the price removing all flexibility and user control.

 

Keeping the system flexible and modular allows the user to organically develop and upgrade their capabilities as needed. (at the cost of complexity and know-how)


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#65 OleCuss

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 10:36 AM

^^^

 

Right.  But you/me/we are generally not the market they are trying to supply.

 

I'm a lifelong vegetarian and teetotaler.  You try to sell me wine and meat and you'll get something like a blank stare or a polite "no".

 

But I've lots of friends who will be interested in buying meat, wine, what have you.  Oh, and I don't think ill of them for doing so.

 

The fact that you and I are not going to get enough value to buy the eVscope or the Stellina at current prices and configuration doesn't mean that others won't find them to be great values.  They are paying for a nearly hassle-free and very transportable package with heavy integration of their functions.

 

There is no reason at all to believe that those buying these AOCs are making poor choices.  They have merely made a choice I/we didn't make and which I still wouldn't make (at least not in the near future at current configuration and price).

 

Yes, I've already more capable equipment than you get with these AOCs but the experience is different from what they are going to provide.


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#66 elpajare

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 11:02 AM

One thing is clear: the users of these devices can never publish their photos in this section

The internal postprocessing work of each photography is so spectacular that it would leave the screenshots published here in a corner.

The final results, always screenshots, of course, that are seen on the websites of the sellers are almost astrophoto.



#67 OleCuss

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 11:14 AM

One thing is clear: the users of these devices can never publish their photos in this section

The internal postprocessing work of each photography is so spectacular that it would leave the screenshots published here in a corner.

The final results, always screenshots, of course, that are seen on the websites of the sellers are almost astrophoto.

If you exclude NV, everything on this sub-forum is astrophotography.  All of it.

 

And some not using the AOCs are getting results which are superior to anything you'll get from the AOCs.  Some are using better optics and some really good sensors and then using something like SharpCap with great skill.

 

The promise of the AOC is to get that great AP with less hassle, weight, whatever.



#68 Forward Scatter

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 11:20 AM

Over here in the biotech/pharma/instrumentation world, the real goal of start-ups is NOT to develop drugs to help patients, but rather appear valuable enough in the short term to be acquired by a larger company. That's the best chance for making $$$. I wonder if Meade, GSO, Celestron or Synta are already considering acquisition....


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#69 shakafell

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 11:59 AM

I wonder what dew protection for the Stellina would need, or how well the nonoptical parts could handle dew.

It has a built in dew heater and temperature sensor. It warns you when there is a large change in temperature and does a refocus.



#70 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 12:00 PM

The market for the Unistellar and the Stellina is not really folks on Cloudy Nights.

 

All of us know we could buy a Nexstar 5SE for  $649, Revolution Imager for $299, Starsense for $325 and get a Lithium Ion Battery pack (Talentcell) from Amazon for $80 and have a full package that'd level and align and display a superior image at under $1500 (half what the Stellina or Unistellar cost)...Or if you want something simpler, true level and align you could get the iOptron AZ Mount pro for $1300 and a $199 Apertura 6" F/5 Newtonian and a Revolution Imager for $299 and come in at under $1800

 

The draw of these scopes (Unistellar and Stellina ) are that they are already prepackaged, likely have easy and pretty setup instructions that teachers and students can get up and running. Is that worth $3000? Maybe...

 

I compare this to what the landed cost is for the inflatable planetariums from Starlab. Some of these inflatable planetariums as a total kit are over $40,000 but again they are packaged, include pretty instructions and are relatively easy to setup. Starlab has basically taken their pricing list off their site and instead they have funding experts that can be contacted on fundraising opportunities. My guess is that will be part of the Unistellar and Stellina business model as well. Heck you could buy a big shed from Lowes and cut the top of it and paint the inside of a grain bin top flat black and buy a projector for quite a bit under that, but again its the prepackaged nature and instructions that make it easy that'll sell stuff like this

 

Jon


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#71 elpajare

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 12:35 PM

I insist on an idea that interests me, the image enhancement software that they have, at least Stellina, is very good.

 

This is an example that Stellina publishes on her website.

 

Sharpcap, Risingky, ... they do a good job too but it is still a manual job. These people have managed to automate the process. In my opinion the added value is the software not the hardware

 

20190709-M20-Nébuleuse-Trifide-1h40.jpeg


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#72 Giorgos

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 01:22 PM

V stands for Vaporware! laugh.gif


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#73 Astrojedi

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 02:09 PM

I agree with most of the comments here... Olecuss and many others hit the nail on the head that we are not the target audience. In fact I quite enjoy tinkering with equipment as many of us do. And we know enough to quite easily put together setup like this for much cheaper.

 

But I am not sure about the $4000 price point. Unlike the $1000 - $1500 price point (bulk of the sales for the evscope), $4000 requires a serious commitment to the hobby. Yes, there are some who get excited and spend a bunch of cash without knowing much but most are not like that. On the other hand if you have spent sometime in the hobby and are ready to commit big sums of money - most will want to put a setup together. Seems like a difficult sell to me. So, this really reduces the market size for me.

 

I think where these scopes could succeed is potentially the education market - maybe universities or schools buy a unit, not sure how big that market is.


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#74 Augustus

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 02:23 PM

I think where these scopes could succeed is potentially the education market - maybe universities or schools buy a unit, not sure how big that market is.

I highly doubt schools will want to invest in such a complicated, expensive piece of technology that has yet to prove itself and may not be easily serviced.



#75 Astrojedi

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 02:51 PM

Fair point... Overall I think a <$2000 price point is critical for this to succeed. Unfortunately to hit that price point you need scale or a very optimized / simplified design. Evscope does show some promise but we will see if these guys are able to solve these complex systems problems with such small capital investment (relatively speaking). At least now we have high performance low cost CMOS Sensors with significant functionality in the SoC.




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