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Paralenz Vaquita - Diving Squad Report:

Diving Squad Rating:

9.7/10

9.7 / 10!!

Designed exclusively for scuba divers, the Paralenz Vaquita is my favourite underwater camera of all time. 

With awesome specs and a wide selection of accessories to give more freedom to your underwater movie-making, it is easy to use, durable and reliable. 

Currently, it’s the only underwater camera with depth controlled colour correction, the only one that can shot 4K at up to 60fps and also the only one to be affiliated with marine research organisations!

In this review, I’ll outline the many great features of the Paralenz Vaquita, look at room for improvement and give a final verdict. Let’s dive in!

KEY SPECS:

  • DCC (Depth Controlled Colour Correction) 
  • Video (resolution): 4k-60fps / 4k HDR-30fps / 1080p-240fps 
  • Photo (resolution): 12 mp still photo resolution in RAW & Jpeg
  • Depth Rating: 1150ft / 350m
  • Display: 0.95 True Inch Colour OLED 180 x 120p. 
  • Viewfinder display with dive profile overlay. 
  • Sensors: Depth, temperature, GPS, time
  • Temperature rating: 14 to 104 degrees farenheiht 
  • Housing 6061 aluminium alloy
  • 2000mAh lithium polymer battery
  • Compatible 128GB Micro SD cards (requires U3 or V30)
  • Connectivity: Wifi, Bluetooth, USB-C port
  • Weight: 8.46 ounces. 240 grams
  • Dimensions: 5 X 1.5 X 1.7 inches / 128 x 40 x 43 mm.

CONTENT:

1. DCC (Depth Controlled Colour Correction):

Paralenz’s patented DCC feature ensures that the colour of videos and photos stays ultra-realistic no matter what depth you’re diving at.  Using a specialised sensor, the Vaquita automatically adjusts the white balance settings in accordance with the depth you’re using it, so you always get optimal white balance. 

Unlike the Paralenz Vaquita, Cheaper Underwater Cameras don’t have automatic white balance. Because of this, video and pictures taken with them lack accurate colours; which is often observed as a blueish / green tint.

This can be amended for somewhat with a lens filter or manually editing white balance settings if you really know what you’re doing but the problem with either of these options is they don’t adjust with the changing light levels caused by differing depths; so they’re not nearly as efficient as the depth sensing DDC of the Paralenz Vaquita.

Compare the two videos below to see underwater videos with and without DCC:

WITH Paralenz Vaquita DDC:

See how much clearer and more realistic the colours are? This is without any post processing and shot in just 33ft / 10m visibility. 

(Shot at Isla Del Cano, Costa Rica with the Paralenz Vaquita)

WITHOUT DDC (Akaso cam):

Notice the greenish blue hue on the footage. It wasn’t like that in real life, colours were a lot more vivid! Shot in 100ft/ 30m visibility. 

2. Video Quality:

We’ve just covered how the depth colour correction of the Paralenz Vaquita results in videos and photos with vibrant and realistic colours but now let’s talk about the quality of videos taken with this camera. 

Of all the dive cameras in 2022, the Paralenz Vaquita is the only one that can shoot 4K at up to 60fps. Other dive cameras can only shoot 4K at up to 30fps. 60fps vs 30fps means twice as much video data being captured resulting in smoother footage and the ability to play it back in half time. 

You can also record video at 4K HDR at 30fps…or at 1080p at a whopping 240 fps which allows for super slow motion effects – check out the super slowmo 1080p- 240fps footage taken with the Paralenz Vaquita below:

As you can see this is next level slowmo with beautiful picture quality and spectacular capture of detail! And it’s shot in just 1080p, meaning that when capturing video at 4K 60fps it will be even higher quality footage.

The Paralenz Vaquita also sports a new Sony image Sensor which is larger than the one seen on the previous Paralenz model: the Dive Camera+. It captures a lot more light, resulting in better quality video.

3. Photo Quality:

With it’s 12mp image sensor, the Paralenz Vaquita can snap decent photos but it is undeniably an underwater video camera with photo capabilities and not the other way round.

If you’re looking for an underwater camera that can first and foremost take great videos and with some photo functionality you’ll be satisfied, but it you want truly great stills, this may not be the camera for you.

That said…don’t panic – when I say it takes decent photos I really mean they’re that! And when I say it can’t take “great stills” by that I’m thinking along the lines of the kind of stuff you’d see in a best selling nature photography magazine. 

Photos taken with the Paralenz Vaquita aren’t going to look professional but they’ll still be awesome to post to social media and the like. And because of the DCC, the colours on them will look a lot better than snaps taken by cheaper underwater cameras lacking this feature. Let’s take a look at some photos snapped with the Paralenz Vaquita:

4. Custom Settings

In addition to being able to manually set the definition rate and frames per second of normal video setup, the Paralenz Vaquita also allows you to create an additional two custom setups that can quickly and easily be accessed underwater by turning the ring dial to “custom 1” and “custom 2”. These settings can apply to video or photo.

For example you could switch between normal shooting mode (such as 4K 60fps) and “custom 1” which you may have set to 1080p 240 fps allowing you to instantly interchange between high definition, normal speed video and super slowmo at a lower definition. You may then switch to “custom 2”, which you could have set to photo burst mode for which you can pre-set how many photos are taken within a 10 second time frame. 

I absolutely love this feature as it let’s you rapidly switch between different setups to add variety and flavour to the videos you capture on a single dive.  

5. Depth Rating

The Paralenz Vaquita has a formidable depth rating of 1150ft / 350m. This blows every other underwater camera out of the water (no pun intended). Other scuba cameras typically have a depth rating that lies between 131ft and 196ft. 

Considering that recreational scuba diving does not exceed 131ft, the Paralenz depth rating is more than enough even for tech divers. Chances are you will never dive even half this deep but it’s extremely cool to know that your camera can!

6. Viewfinder Display with Sensor Info

The Vaquita display / viewfinder is 0.95 inch (2.4cm) true colour 0LED 180 x 120p.

One thing I do want to mention is that this viewfinder is still a little smaller than that of most underwater cameras even the cheaper ones. This can make it a little tricky (but by no means impossible!) to see the shot that you’re taking. At least the colours on the display are extremely bright to make it easier to see!

Overlaid on the viewfinder is your dive profile info with depth, time and temperature info. In addition to this, a conductivity sensor measures water salinity and a GP sensor marks your location. This extra info comes in handy when using the Paralenz app to share dive data with marine research organisations. 

7. Rectilinear Wide Lens

The Paralenz Vaquita features a rectilinear wide lens, which at 140 degrees captures a lot of what is in front of you and is excellent for medium to long distance wide shots, typical of videography. 

That said, it does have it’s imitations. On it’s own the Vaquita can’t focus any closer than 1ft. It is very much a camera for videoing underwater landscapes such as coral and rock formations, large marine animals and schools of fish. 

8. Dive Data App for Marine Conservation

Paralenz are unique for being the only dive camera company to team up with marine conservation organisations around the globe including Beneath the Waves, Nekton, National Marine Sanctuaries and the Reef-World Foundation.

When you upload video data to the Paralenz app, it becomes available to these marine conservation organisations along with the rest of the data collected by the cameras sensors including the location, depth, temperature, water salinity and conductivity of where the footage was captured. 

This provides valuable data for these marine conservation organisations to use in their research efforts to understand the current state of marine ecosystems and environments across the world in order to preserve them. Furthermore you can also access all of the data uploaded by other Paralenz users for yourself.

9. Accessories

I love how many cool and quirky accessories Paralenz have come up with for the Vaquita – they gives you loads of different options for shooting underwater videos in new and creative ways. Let’s take a look at what there is:

HandGRIP

The Paralenz grip is a trigger style point and shoot grip that you can attach the camera to for an intuitive, more stable shooting experience. It makes it a little easier to hold the Vaquita stable and you can still access all the controls just as easily.

FPV / 3rd Person Viewer Stick

A floating selfie stick for the paralenz to let you shoot in FPV mode at up to 1.8 m. It can be used in two ways:

  • With the floats which works by hanging it behind you to have a third person view as if a drone were following you. No other underwater camera has a selfie stick that works like this!

  • Without the floats you can use it as a standard selfie rod.

  • JUST MAKE SURE that you attach the floats in the right way because once you’ve built the selfie stick it is impossible to take it apart again so if you put it together wrong it will be useless. 

Mask Mount

Let’s you attach the Vaquita to your mask for head-cam style shooting, freeing up your hands for other things – whether that be to use torches or another dive camera. Nice!

DIVING SQUAD FINAL VERDICT:

Of all the dive cameras as of 2022, the Paralenz Vaquita is the only one that has depth controlled colour correction and that can shoot 4K at 60fps or 1080ps at 240fps. 

Further adding to it’s winning stats, it can go literally hundreds of feet deeper than any other underwater camera with it’s insane depth rating of 1150ft / 350m. 

Combine these specs with a flexible yet easy user interface, insane durability and a whole array of quirky accessories to give you more creativity freedom and it is one unique and awesome underwater camera. 

The Vaquita has been designed with underwater videography first in mind and photography second but can still take good photos. 

It would be nice if it had a larger viewfinder; this would make framing the shots a little easier; however at least it’s viewfinder is very bright to accommodate for this. 

There’s several interesting accessories for it with the handgrip is especially popular with users as it makes it a little easier to get a stable frame. 

I especially love the FPV stick as with the floats, it films whoever it’s attached to in third person; seriously cool and there doesn’t seem to be anything else like this for other underwater cameras.

The quick-access custom setups are a really nice final touch of expanding your creative freedom. 

Paralenz are the only camera company to have teamed up with marine research organisations, which you can contribute your dive data to using the Paralenz app.

And there you have all of the many reasons why the Paralenz Vaquita is my favourite underwater camera of all time. 

Diving Squad Out!

Written by:

Alex

Alex

Scuba diving fanatic, nature geek and Grand Admiral of the Diving Squad