Vaonis Stellina Review: Is the Original Smart Telescope Still Good?

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Stellina review

Learn all you need to know about the Vaonis Stellina smart telescope before you buy.

Key Points

  1. The Vaonis Stellina was released in 2019 and was the original smart telescope
  2. It is simple, quick and easy to use to take astrophotography images.
  3. It features a mosaic mode that allows the capture of widefield images
  4. In 2024 it is not longer sold by Vaonis and has been succeeded by the more compact Vespera II and Vespera Pro.
  5. It can still be found on sale from some outlets though and is an excellent option if you find it for the right price
Vaonis Stellina review

Vaonis Stellina Review

The Stellina telescope from French company Vaonis is the original smart telescope.

In this Stellina review, I share my experience and explore that of other experts in the field. I rate it in terms of five criteria:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Portability
  3. Imaging Quality
  4. Value for Money
  5. Versatility

Ease of Use

It comes out of the box looking a bit like a large router standing 68cm (26 inches) tall.

How it works is you turn it on, it takes a few minutes to automatically establish the time and date and where it is in the world by GPS and then it is good to go.

There’s not much more to it, no collimating (adjusting) the telescope or manual focusing.

It is operated via an app on your smartphone or tablet. The Stellina knows from your location what you should be able to see and gives you a list of options of objects in the night sky.

stellina review

You then choose which galaxy, nebula, or another object you want it to point at and it will take the image at the press of a button and send it to your smartphone.

The images are of a high resolution of 3096 x 2080 pixels and are processed automatically and sent as jpeg files.

Processes like alignment, focusing, and image stacking are all automated.

“It aligns itself, it focuses by itself, it captures exposures by itself, it stacks them together and spits out a beautiful image which you can share on your favorite social network.”

Astrobiscuit

You can also connect a USB-C cable and get the raw FITS data, which means that if you want to you can get the unprocessed image data and play around with it yourself with post-processing software.

It is powered by a rechargeable battery that lasts around five hours and has an in-built light pollution filter built onto the front so that it can be used from within cities and other built-up areas.

It comes with a high-quality mini tripod from Gitzo (one of the best tripod manufacturers). You can also buy a separate tall Gitzo tripod for the Stellina with a height of 130cm (51 inches).

stellina smart telescope review

I think of this as being like the Apple version of a telescope where they have made ease of use right out of the box a priority.

This then makes it appeal to a different market from experienced astrophotographers.

Ease of Use Score: 9.5

Portability

Whilst impressive in in 2019 it is now substantially bigger and bulkier than alternatives like the eVscope 2 which it higher spec.

In short, smart telescopes have got more compact in the years since the Stellina blazed a trail.

However it packs up neatly and you can buy a backpack specifically for it which makes it easy to walk around it.

It weighs about 25 lbs, which is more than most rivals.

Portability Score: 6

Imaging Quality

While Stellina captures impressive images, particularly under dark skies, its quality doesn’t match that of a regular astrophotography setup.

stellina image quality
The Cigar Galaxy (M82) taken with a Stellina (Credit: in_search_of_lv426)
Vaonis Stellina review
The Lagoon Nebula taken with a Stellina (Credit: in_search_of_lv426)
stellina review
The Christmas Tree cluster taken with a Stellina (Credit: in_search_of_lv426)

Imaging Quality Score: 7.5

Value for Money

Considering its high price of $3,999 and the comparison of its capabilities to regular astrophotography setups, it seems that while Stellina offers convenience and ease of use, it may not provide the best value for serious astrophotographers looking for top-tier image quality.

Value for Money Score: 6

Versatility

The Stellina’s can be used in both dark and light-polluted areas, it’s equipped with a light pollution filter, it can be controlled by multiple users simultaneously for educational or group activities, and it automatically adjusts to changing conditions like humidity and temperature.

Versatility Score: 7

Buy now
Vaonis Stellina
4.0
$3,999.00

Vaonis Stellina Observation Station Smart Hybrid Telescope

Pros:
  • Control with your smartphone
  • Find and photograph astronomical objects in minutes
  • Simple, quick and easy to use
  • Comes with Gitzo Tripod
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Not so good at photographing planets
  • Fairly large and bulky
Buy on Amazon Buy on Astroshop
02/22/2024 03:54 pm GMT

Stellina Pros and Cons

Stellina Advantages

The pros of the Stellina are:

  • Simple, quick and easy to use with an intuitive interface
  • Up to 20 users can connect to it at once to share the images which adds a social element
  • Performance improvements and new features can be added after you have bought it as it receives software updates over the internet

Stellina Disadvantages

In terms of the downsides:

  • Not cheap (although in the ballpark of buying high-quality astrophotography equipment like a camera, telescope, and mount)
  • Not so good at photographing planets or the sun, it mostly specializes in widefield deep sky astrophotography (galaxies, nebula, etc)
  • Fairly large

The only real downsides are that it is not cheap and that the images it produces, while good, are not of comparable quality to those being taken by advanced astrophotographers with good camera/telescope/mount setups.

However, it’s about a thousand times quicker and easier and the prospect is there that the Stellina will improve in performance over time as updates take place over its internet connection, much like your laptop or phone does.

Stellina Alternatives

The alternatives to the Stellina are the:

See our overview of the Best Smart Telescopes to see how they all compare.

Stellina Specifications

  • Aperture: 80mm (3.15 inches)
  • Focal Length: 400mm (15.75 inches)
  • Focal Ratio: F/5
  • Weight: 24.7 lbs (11.2 kg)
  • Height: 68cm (26 inches) – with tripod
  • Sensor: Sony IMX178
  • Resolution: 6.4MP (3096 x 2080 px)
  • Year of release: 2019

Our Verdict

Most in 2024 would prefer to go for one of the more recently released smart telescopes instead of the Stellina and that’s probably what I would recommend.

However, the Stellina is still a great option if you can get your hands on one – even better if you can buy when there’s a sale on.

Verdict: Ageing and bulky, but still great

Still great, but most in 2024 will prefer a newer option.

Overall Score

7.2 / 10

Imaging Quality

7.5 / 10

Ease of Use

9.5 / 10

Portability

6 / 10

Value for Money

6 / 10

Versatility

7 / 10

Pros

  • Find and photograph astronomical objects in minutes
  • Simple, quick and easy to use
  • Comes with Gitzo Tripod

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not so good at photographing planets
  • Fairly large and bulky

Check Prices:

How we reviewed the Stellina

This Stellina review is based on an assessment of its core specifications, the feedback of users, and the reviews of a number trusted experts:

Galactic Hunter

  1. Ease of Use: “Installing Stellina is, without exaggeration, about 100 times easier than setting up a regular astrophotography rig.” 9/10
  2. Portability: “Both the telescope and its accessories can fit in a large backpack and can be taken as a carry-on on an airplane.” 7/10
  3. Imaging Quality: “One thing’s for sure, you’re not gonna get as good quality images as you would get with a regular astrophotography setup.” 7/10
  4. Value for Money: 6/10
  5. Versatility: 7/10
  6. Overall: 7.4/10

Astro Backyard

  1. Ease of Use: “Stellina sets up on its own, finds out where it’s pointed in the night sky and then delivers you a list of objects you can see in the sky right now from your location. There’s no polar alignment, star alignment or any user input needed to get going.” 9/10
  2. Portability: 7/10.
  3. Imaging Quality: “When the Stellina first arrived I was skeptical about the quality of the pictures that it would take and they’re actually pretty impressive.” 7.5/10
  4. Value for Money: “In many ways this represents the future of amateur astronomy, for those that can afford it of course.” Score: 6/10
  5. Versatility: 7/10
  6. Overall: 7.3/10

Astrobiscuit

  1. Ease of Use: “It aligns itself, it focuses by itself, it captures exposures by itself, it stacks them together and spits out a beautiful image which you can share on your favorite social network.” 9/10
  2. Portability: 7/10
  3. Imaging Quality: 8/10
  4. Value for Money: “Everything new would be about one and a half grand which is considerably cheaper, is it not, than Stellina. Stellina is two grand more expensive which sounds like a rip-off… until you realize just how many extra parts she needs to replace a nerd.” 6/10
  5. Versatility: 8/10
  6. Overall: 7.6/10

Submit Your Review of the Vaonis Stellina

If you own (or have used) a Stellina, you can submit your review and ratings to us via this form to be incorporated in this review:

Vaonis Stellina

Premium Smart Telescope

Product Brand: Vaonis

Editor's Rating:
7.2

Pros

  • Find and photograph astronomical objects in minutes
  • Simple, quick and easy to use
  • Comes with Gitzo Tripod

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not so good at photographing planets
  • Fairly large and bulky

About the Author

Anthony Robinson is the founder and owner of Skies & Scopes, a publication and community focused on amateur astronomy and astrophotography. His work has been featured in publications such as Amateur Astrophotography, Forbes, the Guardian, DIY Photography, PetaPixel, and Digital Camera World - read more.

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