Paralenz Vaquita
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Paralenz Vaquita is a point-and-shoot underwater video camera built for one thing, and one thing only: Scuba diving. The Vaquita is a premium camera intended for more serious photo- and videographers.

It has a cylindrical chassis–that doesn’t require an additional waterproof housing–and you can easily change the settings while underwater.

The Depth-Controlled Color Correction (DCC), which is essentially a digital filter, corrects the white balance of your video and images depending on your depth.

Our Overall Review

4.4

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    No need for additional filters or housing
  • check-mark
    DCC means you can start shooting great videos and photos straight out of the box
  • check-mark
    Fits comfortably into the palm of the hand
  • check-mark
    Easy to operate with gloves
  • check-mark
    The simple user interface is easy for amateur photographers to use
  • check-mark
    The dive data collected can be shared to help with research to preserve the oceans
  • check-mark
    Outstanding photo and video quality
  • check-mark
    Larger, real color display
  • check-mark
    Viewfinder with dive profile overlay
  • check-mark
    Waterproof to 350 meters (although 250 meters was plenty for the majority of divers with the DiveCamera+)

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markHeavier than the DiveCamera+ but not a problem when underwater
  • check-markPossible concerns regarding battery life with the additional sensors and full-color display
  • check-markLCD display is a bit small but enough to nail your composition and get that perfect shot.

Where to buy:

Paralenz Vaquita Vs GoPro Hero 10

Before we get into details on the Vaquita, a quick word on how it stands up against the GoPro Hero 10.

The Paralenz Vaquita is twice as expensive as the GoPro Hero 10 with a price of $799,- for the Vaquita versus $399 for the GoPro Hero 10 with an underwater house.

At this price, one might think the Vaquita should be twice as good as the Hero 10. But how does that translate into the video quality and the experience on the whole? We took these two cameras on a series of dives, side-by-side, to see how they compare.The GoPro has better sensors, can record in higher resolution, has larger screens, and both a front and back (touch) LCD screen on the camera. So when you look at the specs, the DCC on the Vaquita is the only glaring difference between these two “competitors”. Does this represent the cost difference?

There’s a caveat for the Hero 10 here. While the Vaquita has a digital filter (the DCC) to correct for color loss, GoPros use physical filters to saturate images to show (mainly) red colors at depth.

Beyond the levels of saturation, the Vaquita records more than just imagery. Each dive will also contain conditions that the camera records, the story of which can be seen via the Paralenz App post-dive. That includes depth profile, geo-location and ocean conditions for a full story to accompany any photo or video.

No other underwater camera collects and presents such a wealth of dive information like the Vaquita does.

In shallow water, we found, there’s no reason to use anything but a GoPro Hero 10. So, snorkeling and free diving–where you don’t get much beyond 15 feet and the slightly wider field of view comes in handy–is great with the Hero. But, as soon as you dive deeper down, Paralenz’ color correction really gets to do its work and there’s a noticeable difference as the Vaquita pulls clearly ahead of the GoPro.

The Hero 10–with filter–will show reds and contrast, but after 15-20 feet (depending on the water temperature), GoPro video looks dark and smudged.

On the other hand, at 15 feet is where Vaquita’s color correction starts to shine. Where pictures normally look totally de-saturated–way too blue and dull–a clarity and good white balance present something nice.

On top of that, because more info is contained in Vaquita’s video capture, post-production opens up for better adjusting of images and film.

Specs & Features

  • Depth rating:: 1150ft / 350m
  • Temperature rating:: 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit / -10 to 40 degrees Celsius
  • White balance modes:: Auto White Balance, Depth Controlled Color Correction (DCC)
  • Display:: 0.95-inch True Color OLED 180 x 120p
  • Viewfinder display with dive profile overlay
  • Sensors:: Pressure, Temperature, GPS, Conductivity, 9 Axis Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Time
  • Power:: 2000mAh Lithium polymer battery
  • Photo resolution:: 12 megapixel still photo resolution in jpeg
  • Video resolution:: 4K-60fps / 4K HDR-30fps / 1080p-240fps
  • Video format:: MOV – H264 4K 60fps / H265 4K 30fps
  • Materials:: Housing made from 6061 Aluminium Alloy
  • 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 millimeters
See the complete list of the best Underwater Camera here!

What You Need to Know About the Paralenz Vaquita

Let’s take a look at some of the main features and how they work in more detail.

Display

The Vaquita has a small 0.95 inch (2.4cm) OLED true color display so you can see what you’re capturing. It’s smaller than the one on the GoPro Hero 10, but it’s a welcome upgrade compared to the older Paralenz DiveCamera+.

No longer will you have to aim and hope that you’ve captured that turtle exactly in the center of the shot. You can see exactly what’s in the frame before taking the picture.

Overlaid on the viewfinder is your dive profile, together with current depth and temperature information, which gets uploaded with the video.

Sensors

Like most Dive Computers, the Vaquita features sensors to record temperature and depth throughout the dive. Also a GPS sensor allows you to track their dive and always know the exact location of their favorite dive spots. A conductivity sensor monitors the salinity of the water.

This may not sound like the information you need to know when logging your dive, but this info will prove invaluable for marine researchers (more about this interesting feature later).

Related Reviews

Depth Color Correction (DCC)

Physical features are great for adding to an underwater camera’s ability to capture colors that otherwise disappear at depth. DCC is Paralenz’s patented technology that automatically adjusts the camera’s white balance depending on what depth you’re at.

While video might seem a little de-saturated at shallow depths, it can be corrected when editing later. In fact, video recorded at 5-10 feet might seem somewhat flat (even if it remains crisp), but looking at film taken at 10 feet or deeper reveals both clarity, depth and good contrast. It does a good job of “seeing” the reds not otherwise visible.

Video Quality

The Paralenz Vaquita allows you to record in 4K, 4K HDR, or 1080p. This basically means that your videos will be smoother and more detailed. In the 1080p 240 frames per second mode, you can also create slow-motion videos with this very high frame rate.

An improved codec (the HEVC (H.265)) still gives you quality recordings but in much-reduced file size. And a new Sony, digital image sensor at the back of the chassis is larger than the one on the predecessor DiveCamera+.  Capturing more light means better contrast and natural presentation of shadows and depth.

Auto Record

How many times have you come up from a great dive and realized you got carried away enjoying yourself and forgot to press record? Instead of having to manually begin recording, the Vaquita automatically starts recording as soon as it hits the water.

This means that it stops as soon as it emerges from the water. Some might prefer to capture the end of a dive too and find this less than ideal. There’s perhaps a setting to affect this change, but we didn’t find any need for it.

Battery

Paralenz has a lithium polymer battery of 2000mAh giving you more than enough power to film 2 normal dives. If you’re running out of power you can extend battery life by shooting in lower resolution. You charge the Vaquita via USB-c, and getting a full charge takes about an hour.

A nice add-on would be interchangeable batteries as we see on many of the action cameras. This would allow you to bring a fully charged spare battery on the dive boat.

Helping to Save Our Oceans

Paralenz has teamed up with marine conservation organizations around the globe, such as Nekton, Beneath the Waves, National Marine Sanctuaries, and The Reef-World Foundation. They’re on board with these organizations efforts to help preserve the health of the world’s oceans and sea life.

While diving and using the Vaquita, the camera’s sensors automatically collect data about location, temperature, depth, and conductivity. By downloading the Paralenz app and sharing your dive, scientists, researchers, and conservationists around the globe will receive the data you collect. By knowing temperature fluctuations and salinity levels specific to a geo-loation, researches will know more about, real time–or like a snapshot of what’s happening around the oceans.

It should be noted that it’s optional to share this data, but we see little reason for not sharing and contributing to more knowledge.

Paralenz Vaquita Seal Under Water

Paralenz After Sales and Servicing Support

Paralenz offers a warranty on all its cameras, so the Vaquita should be no different. Warranty duration tends to vary from region to region with coverage beginning from the date of purchase:

  • EU — 2 years
  • US — 1 year
  • Asia Pacific — 1 year

During this period, you can contact customer services or submit a request via the website if there’s any fault with the camera. If the problem can’t be fixed by troubleshooting the issue, you should send the faulty product to a Paralenz office for repair, refund, or replacement.

Obviously, the warranty won’t cover any natural wear and tear or if you drop the camera. Nor if you try to do any servicing yourself or at an unauthorized dealer will Paralenz remedy this.

The Vaquita in Short?

The Paralenz Vaquita is a small underwater camera that is super powerful and allows every level of diver to capture their underwater adventure with perfect videos and photos. And while enjoying your underwater adventure, you’re also helping to safeguard the oceans.

Paralenz has always claimed that its cameras are “made by divers, for divers.” The Vaquita is a huge improvement on the DiveCamera+, which was already an outstanding piece of kit. The company has listened to its customers and made improvements to make underwater photography and videography even easier.

With no need to worry about white balance and with the quality of images the Vaquita produces, Paralenz has succeeded in making photographers out of every diver. Whether you’re into tech, cave, ice, or lake diving, a beginner diver or professional this could be the only camera you will ever need.

Paralenz Vaquita Accessories

Our Overall Review

4.4

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    No need for additional filters or housing
  • check-mark
    DCC means you can start shooting great videos and photos straight out of the box
  • check-mark
    Fits comfortably into the palm of the hand
  • check-mark
    Easy to operate with gloves
  • check-mark
    The simple user interface is easy for amateur photographers to use
  • check-mark
    The dive data collected can be shared to help with research to preserve the oceans
  • check-mark
    Outstanding photo and video quality
  • check-mark
    Larger, real color display
  • check-mark
    Viewfinder with dive profile overlay
  • check-mark
    Waterproof to 350 meters (although 250 meters was plenty for the majority of divers with the DiveCamera+)

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markHeavier than the DiveCamera+ but not a problem when underwater
  • check-markPossible concerns regarding battery life with the additional sensors and full-color display
  • check-markLCD display is a bit small but enough to nail your composition and get that perfect shot.

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