ZWO Seestar S50 Review: Perfect for Astrophotography Beginners

*If you click on links we provide, we may be compensated at no extra cost to you - Affiliate Disclosure / Review Guidelines.
ZWO Seestar S50 Review

Learn everything you need to know about the ZWO Seestar S50 smart telescope in this comprehensive review.

Key Points

  1. The Seestar S50 was released in 2023 as ZWO’s first smart telescope. ZWO have been a trusted astrophotography brand for many years.
  2. It is small and compact, although a little bigger and heavier than its main competitor the Dwarf 2
  3. The telescope aperture is 50mm, which is the same as the Vaonis Vespera smart telescopes, which are much more expensive
  4. The camera resolution is relatively low at 2MP
  5. Overall, it is exceptional value at a budget price for a smart telescope
ZWO Seestar S50 Review

ZWO Seestar S50 Review

The ZWO Seestar S50 is a budget smart telescope that was released in 2023.

It followed the Dwarflab Dwarf II in offering an affordable alternative to the premium smart telescopes that had been the only smart telescopes available since they hit the market in 2019/2020.

In this ZWO Seestar S50 review, I share my experience and explore that of other experts in the field and rate it in terms of five criteria for easy comparison:

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

Let’s get into it.

Ease of Use

The Seestar S50 is designed for user-friendliness, featuring intuitive controls and a mobile app for easy operation.

Its automatic GoTo and tracking capabilities simplify locating celestial objects, making it accessible to beginners.

It is designed for beginners, with a simple setup and operation process, although it takes a little time at first.

It features an auto-leveling system and autofocus. It’s great for those not wanting to engage in complex technical setups.

Even if you’re new to stargazing, these features make it easy to locate and capture stunning images of celestial objects.

Ease of Use Score: 8/10

ZWO Seestar S50 app
The Seestar app is awesome and easy to use

Portability

Weighing just 2.5 kg and with a compact design, the Seestar S50 is highly portable. This makes it convenient for both urban stargazers and those who travel to remote locations.

This portability is a game-changer, allowing you to effortlessly carry it on your stargazing adventures or even in your backyard.

It is a tiny bit bigger and heavier than its main rival – the Dwarf 2 – and that’s why I’m giving it this score.

Portability Score: 9

Imaging Quality

The telescope offers excellent imaging quality, thanks to its apochromatic triplet lens and high-resolution sensor.

The built-in filters, including a duo-band light pollution filter, enhance the imaging, especially in light-polluted areas.

The Seestar S50 features an apochromatic triplet optical lens with a 50mm aperture and a 250mm focal length, offering an impressive f/5 focal ratio.

The clarity and sharpness of the images are outstanding, with minimal chromatic aberration, thanks to the high-quality optics.

The 2MP 1920 x 1080 resolution is the lowest of any smart telescope on the market which will always provide some limitation.

“The tiny field of view because of the camera’s small sensor can be a little frustrating at times when you want to photograph something wide…and there’s just not enough room to crop because you’re already so zoomed in.”

Astrobackyard

Imaging Quality Score: 6.5

Value for Money

For the price, the SeeStar S50 is amazing value for money.

Any small gripes listed in this review are only relevant in comparison to the premium smart telescope options – which cost a lot more – or custom astrophotography setups – which both cost more and are a lot harder to operate).

Value for Money Score: 10

Versatility

It’s brilliant for quick and easy deep sky astrophotography. It also comes with a solar filter to allow imaging the sun.

However, it struggles for planetary imaging due to the narrow field of view, it cannot really be used for terrestrial photography, and it has no live-view eyepiece like the premium eVscope 2).

“The Seestar S50 performs well in terms of moon, sun, and casual deep sky astrophotography but for planetary imaging, you’re going to need another telescope.”

Wido’s Astroforum

Versatility Score: 6

ZWO SeeStar S50

Budget Portable Smart Telescope

Pros:
  • Take astrophotography images with the press of a button
  • 50mm aperture and 250mm focal length
  • ZWO has a track record of delivering high-performing astrophotography gear
Cons:
  • Slightly bigger than its main competitor (the Dwarf 2)
  • Relatively low resolution at 2MP
  • Relatively narrow field of view means it cannot image planets well
Buy at ZWO/SeeStar Check All Stores

ZWO Seestar S50 Pros and Cons

ZWO Seestar S50 Advantages

The pros of the ZWO Seestar S50 are:

  • High-quality smart telescope from a relabile astrophotography brand
  • Affordable price
  • Small, portable and easy to use

ZWO Seestar S50 Disadvantages

In terms of the downsides:

  • Slightly bigger than its main competitor (the Dwarf 2)
  • Relatively low resolution at 2MP
  • Relatively narrow field of view means it cannot image planets well

ZWO Seestar S50 Alternatives

The alternatives to the ZWO Seestar S50 are the:

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

ZWO Seestar S50 Specifications

  • Aperture: 50mm (2 inch)
  • Focal Length: 250mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/4.9
  • Weight: 2.5kg (5.5 lb)
  • Height: 14cm
  • Sensor: Sony IMX462
  • Resolution: 2MP (1920 x 1080 px)
  • Year of release: 2023

ZWO Seestar S50 Review: Overall Verdict

The ZWO Seestar S50 is an amazing budget smart telescope – either for a beginner looking to get into astrophotography, or for an experienced imager that would like a quicker and more portable alternative than their custom setup.

Its user-friendly design, coupled with advanced technical capabilities, makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced stargazers.

There are some minor limitations, but this is to be expected with the small size and low price.

Verdict: An Amazing Budget Smart Telescope

A perfect option for beginners wanting to dabble in astrophotography, or experienced imagers looking for a more conventient option.

Overall Score

7.9 / 10

Imaging Quality

6.5 / 10

Ease of Use

8 / 10

Portability

9 / 10

Value for Money

10 / 10

Versatility

6 / 10

Pros

  • High-quality smart telescope from a relabile astrophotography brand
  • Affordable price
  • Small, portable and easy to use

Cons

  • Slightly bigger than its main competitor (the Dwarf 2)
  • Relatively low resolution at 2MP
  • Relatively narrow field of view means it cannot image planets well

Check Prices:

Sources and further information

How we reviewed the ZWO Seestar S50

This ZWO Seestar S50 review is based on an assessment of its core specifications, the feedback of users, and the reviews of a number trusted experts:

Delta Astrophotography

“it’s for the casual astronomy enthusiast that doesn’t really want to get into all the technical aspects of astrophotography just yet…it’s for the traveller always on the go and needs to travel light”

  1. Ease of Use – 9/10
  2. Portability – 9/10
  3. Imaging Quality – 7/10
  4. Value for Money – 9/10
  5. Versatility – 7/10
  6. Overall = 8.2

Astrobackyard

“I’ve been able to shoot everything from the Sun to the Moon to a lot of deep sky targets that I normally wouldn’t be able to shoot just because they’re so far away. It’s been great I’ve been able to do it all casually not much effort at all”

  1. Ease of Use – 9/10
  2. Portability – 8/10
  3. Imaging Quality – 7/10
  4. Value for Money – 9/10
  5. Versatility – 7/10
  6. Overall = 8

Wido’s Astroforum

“it’s for the casual astronomy enthusiast that doesn’t really want to get into all the technical aspects of astrophotography just yet…it’s for the traveller always on the go and needs to travel light”

  1. Ease of Use – 8/10
  2. Portability – 9/10
  3. Imaging Quality – 7.5/10
  4. Value for Money – 8/10
  5. Versatility – 7/10
  6. Overall = 7.9

Submit Your Review of the ZWO Seestar S50

If you own (or have used) a ZWO Seestar S50, you can submit your review and ratings to us via this form to be incorporated in this review:

ZWO Seestar S50

Budget Smart Telescope

Product Brand: ZWO

Editor's Rating:
7.95

Pros

  • High-quality smart telescope from a relabile astrophotography brand
  • Affordable price
  • Small, portable and easy to use

Cons

  • Slightly bigger than its main competitor (the Dwarf 2)
  • Relatively low resolution at 2MP
  • Relatively narrow field of view means it cannot image planets well

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.

.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.