Diving Squad Rating:
9.7 / 10!!
Designed for scuba divers by scuba divers, the newly released Paralenz Vaquita 2nd GEN is my favourite underwater video camera of all time.
It’s the only underwater camera with automatic depth-controlled colour correction and also the only one that has a data collection app affiliated with marine research organisations!
Highly durable, it can go deeper than any other underwater camera – down to a whopping 1150 ft / 350 m.
Able to shoot 4K at a mighty 60fps and super slowmotion 1080p at 240fps: its video shooting specs are unmatched. It can also snap decent 12mp photos.
Paralenz have released several unique accessories that are compatible with both the Vaquita and Vaquita Gen 2; to give more underwater movie-making freedom; including a macro lens, third person viewer stick and trigger mount grip.
The newest version of the Vaquita: the Gen 2 – aka the Vaquita-Wide was released in August 2022 and is very similar to its predecessor except that it has a wider lens, improved underwater colour correction and a slightly better focus range.
Before we start an in-depth break down of all it’s features check out the video below which shows the same subject filmed with the Vaquita Gen 2 and the Vaquita side by side:
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 it’s at, so you always get optimal white balance.
The Vaquita Gen 2 has improved DDC technology which can now automatically detect blue or green water and apply a digital feature to create even more natural colours – no need for any post processing whatsoever.
Other cheaper underwater cameras don’t have automatic white balance at all so their videos and photos lack accurate colours and come out with a blue or 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 as efficient as the Vaquita’s DCC.
Check out how clear and realistic the colours are in this video are! (Close up scenes filmed using the Vaquita Macro Lens)
(Filmed at Killary Fjord, Ireland with the Paralenz Vaquita Gen 2).
The Paralenz Vaquita Gen 2 features a new super-wide lens, which at 150 degrees captures a great deal more than its predecessor which admittedly felt like it had a somewhat narrow lens. Check out this video to compare the Vaquita Gen 2’s wider lens to its predecessor.
The Vaquita Gen 2 also has a slightly improved focus range being able to film things as close as 25cm whereas the Gen 1 had a focus limit of 30cm. Still; if you want to film macro with it you should just go ahead and buy the macro lens; which I’ve talked about in the accessories section.
We’ve just covered how the DCC of the Paralenz Vaquita Gen 2 results in videos with ultra realistic colours but now let’s talk about the actual quality of those videos.
Although videos shot with the Vaquita Gen 2 will look a bit better than videos shot with the Vaquita due to improved DCC and a wider frame; there’s actually no change in terms of video resolution capabilities between the two Vaquita models.
Of all the dive cameras in 2022, the Vaquita / Gen 2 are two of the very few that shoot 4K at up to 60fps. Most other underwater cameras only shoot 4K at up to 30fps.
60fps vs 30fps means twice as much video data being captured resulting in extremely smooth and high quality videos that can also be played back in half time.
You can also use the Vaquita / Gen 2 to record video at 1080p with a whopping 240 fps for super slow motion effects – check out an example of this below:
Again there is no change from the Vaquita to the Vaquita Gen 2 in terms of photo specs. Whilst photos taken with the Vaquita Gen 2 will have better colours and a slightly wider frame, the actual picture will have the same amount of detail.
With both the Vaquita and Vaquita Gen 2 possessing an 12mp image sensor, they can snap decent photos but undeniably shine through best when taking underwater videos.
This is actually one of the areas I’d love to see Paralenz improve upon; if there was a 16mp sensor in the next Vaquita model it would be a game-changer in terms of the camera’s all-round applicability!
For example the Sealife Micro 3.0 doesn’t take videos that are nearly as good as the Vaquita cameras but it does undeniably snap better photos thanks to it’s 16mp image sensor.
Still – photos taken by the Vaquita aren’t bad! Let’s take a look at some photos snapped with the Vaquita Gen 2:
In addition to being able to manually set the definition rate and frames per second of normal video setup, the Paralenz Vaquita Gen 2 also allows you to create an additional two custom video or photo setups that can quickly and easily be accessed underwater by turning the ring dial to “custom 1” and “custom 2”.
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 lets you rapidly switch between different setups to add variety and flavour to the videos you capture on a single dive.
This feature is the same in both the Paralenz Vaquita and Vaquita Gen 2.
The Vaquita Gen 2 has a formidable depth rating of 1150ft / 350m. This blows every other underwater camera out of the water – no pun intended! Other underwater cameras typically have a depth rating that lies between 131ft and 196ft. So the depth rating remains the same between the Vaquita Gen 2 and it’s predecessor.
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!
The Vaquita Gen 2 / Vaquita display is 0.95 inch (2.4cm) true colour 0LED 180 x 120p. This is actually a little smaller than that of other underwater cameras making it somewhat tricky to see the shot that you’re taking. At least the colours are nice and bright to compensate for this a little!
Also, when not recording video, the display shows a shot that is slightly zoomed out compared to when you actually hit record which can be mildly infuriating if you line up a shot; then start to film and realise you’re now missing the edges to the shot you thought you were getting.
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.
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.
With the Vaquita Gen 2; the app has been greatly improved in that it can automatically detect when big marine animals swim past; meaning you don’t have to sift through hours of footage looking for the right bit to share with conservation organisations via the app – you can just upload the whole thing and it’ll do the rest for you!
I love how many cool and quirky accessories Paralenz have come up with – they gives you loads of quirky options for shooting underwater videos in new and creative ways.
Because the Vaquita and Vaquita Gen 2 are identical in their shape and structure; all accessories originally made for the Vaquita are compatible with the Vaquita 2 as well. Let’s take a look at what there is:
By far my favourite Paralenz accessory; the macro lens allows the Vaquita to focus on objects within 90 – 110mm distance and with a 80 – 120mm depth of field.
This is an absolute game changer when it comes to filming things up close such as coral or sponge surfaces, tiny critters like nudibranch and shrimp or skin textures of big marine animals.
What I absolutely love about the macro lens is that when used in conjunction with the flip-mount you’re able to switch between using the macro-lens or the Vaquita’s normal long-distance lens within the matter of a second, even whilst underwater.
In the above video; the close ups were filmed using the Vaquita Macro Lens; which I was then able to rapidly flip down using the flip mount in order to film the long distance shots.
The Paralenz grip is a trigger style point and shoot grip-mount that you can attach the Vaquita to for an intuitive and 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.
In fact the trigger operation makes it possible to operate the Vaquita mostly one handed.
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:
This lets 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 hold another dive camera.
Personally, I did find the Vaquita camera to wobble around a bit when using it like this.
Of all the 2022 underwater cameras, the Paralenz Vaquita is the only one featuring depth controlled colour correction and one of the very few capable of shooting 4K at 60fps or 1080ps at 240fps.
On top of this, it can go hundreds of feet deeper than any other underwater camera with its 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 and this is a truly high quality underwater camera.
The only major fault I can find with its usability is that it takes a long time to switch on (around 18 seconds) meaning that once you’re in the water you have to keep it on; which does eat away at the battery life quite quickly.
The Vaquita has been designed with underwater videography first in mind and photography second but it can still take decent underwater 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 being especially popular as it makes it a little easier to hold the camera steady.
The quick-access custom setups are also a really nice touch for 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 the many reasons why the Paralenz Vaquita is my favourite underwater video camera of all time.
I can’t wait to see what the Paralenz Vaquita second generation does!