Vaonis Hestia vs ZWO Seestar S50: What’s Best For You?

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Hestia vs ZWO Seestar S50

Vaonis Hestia vs ZWO Seestar S50: 1 Minute Summary

  • The Vaonis Hestia is a compact and easy to use device that enhances your smartphone’s capacity for astrophotography. It doesn’t have a camera in-built like a smart telescope and therefore is (to an extent) future-proof as it can improve as your smartphone camera improves.
  • However, it will not track objects in the night sky like the Seestar S50. This is a barrier to deep sky astrophotography and will mostly limit you to photographing the Sun and Moon, but the app can guide manual tracking and an accompanying tracking mount will eventually be released.
  • The Hestia is cheaper than the Seestar S50, but if you need to add a separate tracking mount then these prices will likely become very close.
  • The ZWO Seestar S50 is a budget, compact smart telescope. It has a higher aperture telescope than the Hestia and is relatively small and light but still bigger and heavier than the Hestia.
  • It is more expensive, but it is an all-in-one package including telescope, camera, and mount, which the Hestia is not. It also does not take away your smartphone, which means you can set it up in your backyard and operate it from inside (with your phone) while it takes images, but this is not possible with the Hestia.

Why choose the Vaonis Hestia over the ZWO Seestar S50?

The Hestia, from French company Vaonis, is not a smart telescope. It is a device to use with your smartphone for astrophotography to effectively turn it into a smart telescope.

Its advantages over the ZWO Seestar S50 are:

  • It is cheaper.
  • It is smaller and lighter.
  • Because it has no camera or electronics inside, it is safer to carry and travel with without risk of breaking anything.
  • It can improve as your smartphone camera improves. I.e. if you get a better phone that upgrades you from a 10 megapixel to a 50 megapixel, then so does your Hestia.
  • The app and user experience from Vaonis are seamless.

Why choose the ZWO Seestar S50 over the Vaonis Hestia?

The Seestar S50 is a compact, budget smart telescope from Chinese manufacturer ZWO that was released in 2023:

  • The key specifications are better than the Hestia’s – it has higher aperture and a wider field of view.
  • It is an all-in-one smart telescope package, that includes a tracking mount so that you can photograph deep sky objects.
  • You can set it up in your backyard at night and from inside with your phone. With the Hestia, you have to have the phone on it so you cannot operate it remotely and you have to stay close to it as you are unlikely to want to leave your smartphone in your garden or anywhere unoccupied.

Telescope Specifications

The Vaonis Hestia has 30mm (1.2 inch) aperture and 1.8° x 1.8° field of view.

The ZWO Seestar S50 has 50mm (2 inch) aperture, 250mm focal length, f/4.9 focal ratio, and 1.29º x 0.73º field of view.

Camera Specifications

The ZWO Seestar S50 has a 2MP resolution camera of 1920 x 1080 size using a Sony IMX462 sensor and a pixel size of 2.9 µm.

The Vaonis Hestia uses your smartphone’s camera and so we cannot make a direct comparison here, but, for example, the Google Pixel 8 Pro has a 50 MP resolution camera and a pixel size of 1.2 μm.

Size and Weight

The Vaonis Hestia weighs 0.85kg (1.9 lb) and has dimensions of 17 x 24 x 5.5 ((H x W x L in cm).

The ZWO Seestar S50 weighs 2.5kg (5.5 lb) and has dimensions of 14 x 13 x 26 ((H x W x L in cm).

Price and Value for Money

The Vaonis Hestia costs $299, and the ZWO Seestar S50 costs $499.

Note, these may vary so check the links to compare retailers if thinking about buying.


Vaonis Hestia ZWO Seestar S50
Year 2024 2023
Aperture 30mm (1.2 inch) 50mm (2 inch)
Focal Length Unknown 250mm
Focal Ratio Unknown f/4.9
Limiting Magnitude 10.09 11.19
OTA type Refractor Refractor
Eyepiece No No
Field of View 1.8° x 1.8° 1.29º x 0.73º
Resolution N/A 2MP
Sensor Size N/A 1920 x 1080
Sensor N/A Sony IMX462
Pixel Size N/A 2.9 µm
Mosaic Mode No No
Size (H x W x L) cm 17 x 24 x 5.5 14 x 13 x 26
Weight 0.85kg (1.9 lb) 2.5kg (5.5 lb)
Mount Not included Included
Tripod Included Included
Battery Life N/A 6 hrs
Internal Storage N/A 64GB
Dew Control None Built-in
Retail Price* $299 $499
*Price may be subject to change, so please use the links on this page to check at various retailers

ZWO Seestar S50 vs Vaonis Hestia Verdict

I see this as essentially a choice between a casual device to use with your smartphone for photographing the Sun and Moon (the Hestia), versus a budget smart telescope for those that want to dabble in deep sky astrophotography (the ZWO Seestar S50).

If and when Vaonis release the tracking mount, this difference may lessen as the Hestia will then be able to do deep sky imaging and the overall costs are likely to be very similar.

However, you still have the challenge of the Hestia occupying your phone, so you are unlikely to want to set it up outside doing long exposure images of far off galaxies for extended periods.

Related content and more information

Other Vaonis Hestia comparisons:

Other Seestar S50 comparisons:

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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