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summer worsley
Summer Worsley, Dive Instructor
PRODUCT REVIEW

The Paralenz Vaquita

The long wait is over and the Paralenz Vaquita dive camera is finally here. After revealing its new generation of the camera early in 2020, and promising we could get our hands on it in April, Paralenz delayed its release. But, on the 30th of June, the time came for pre-orders.

Much anticipated by the diving community, the Paralenz Vaquita is a reinvention of the popular DiveCamera+. The small yet powerful camera became a huge hit with the diving community and Paralenz hopes the new model will be even bigger.

The company’s mission is to enable divers “to seamlessly capture and share brilliant underwater videos.” This was already possible with the DiveCamera+. Or so we thought. Looking at the Vaquita, it’s just possible that the best dive camera in the world has arrived.

Here we take a look at how Paralenz has improved on an already impressive camera with the new Vaquita.

Already know the Paralenz Vaquita is for you? Click on the link below for details and to place your order now. If not, read on to get the low-down on the Vaquita and find out if it’s been worth the wait.

Paralenz Vaquita

See the complete list of the best Dive Camera’s here!

Paralenz Vaquita Dive Camera
Paralenz Vaquita’s updated technology delivers the smoothest and most vivid underwater videos up to 4K
 

Paralenz Vaquita: Key Specifications

  • 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
  • 2000mAh Lithium polymer battery
  • 12 megapixel still photo resolution in RAW and jpeg
  • Video resolution: 4K-60fps / 4K HDR-30fps / 1080p-240fps
  • Video format: MOV – H264 4K 60fps / H265 4K 30fps
  • 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
Paralenz Vaquita Dive Camera
Paralenz Vaquita enable to connect the free Paralenz App to transfer your recordings.

Paralenz Vaquita Versus Paralenz DiveCamera+

Before we get into details on the Vaquita, a quick word on how it stands up against its predecessor.

First, let’s look at what’s the same. In short, not much apart from how it looks! The handheld design is the same as the DiveCamera+, although the Vaquita is slightly longer and fatter it’s still slim enough to fit comfortably in a diver’s hand.

This increased size also makes the Vaquita around 3.5 ounces (100g) heavier. Paralenz is quick to point out that the weight when underwater is just 3.5 ounces though, so this should not impact useability.

Apart from size, it appears that the Vaquita outscores the DiveCamera+ on pretty much every other specification and feature.

See the old model of Paralenz DiveCamera+

 

What You Need to Know About the Paralenz Vaquita

Now we know that the Paralenz Vaquita outstrips the DiveCamera+ in virtually all the specs, let’s take a look at some of the main features in more detail.

Display

Probably the most striking difference between the Vaquita and the DiveCamera+ is its display. While the latter has a black and white 0.65 inch (1.65cm) OLED display, the new and improved display on the Vaquita is a 0.95 inch (2.4cm) OLED true color display. With four times the resolution of its predecessor, the Vaquita display is a great improvement.

The other standout feature of the display is a viewfinder, something that was sadly lacking on the 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. Paralenz hopes to display other useful information on the screen in the future.

Sensors

Like the DiveCamera+, the Vaquita features sensors to record temperature and depth. Building on this, Paralenz has packed in additional sensors to collect even more data.

The GPS sensor allows divers 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).

Depth Color Correction (DCC)

Throw away those annoying filters and stop having to fiddle around with white balance. DCC is Paralenz’s patented technology that automatically adjusts the camera’s white balance depending on what depth you’re at.

Although this is a feature of the DiveCamera+, the addition of a new powerful Ambarella processor has improved the color correction for colors that are more vivid, even when down deep.

Video Quality

Another big step up is the quality of footage you can capture. 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 due to a 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 image sensor is larger than the one on the DiveCamera+ which captures more light, resulting in better footage.

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 allows you to preset depth levels at which the camera will automatically start and stop recording.

Battery

Paralenz has improved the power of the lithium polymer battery from 1600mAh to 2000mAh. The DiveCamera+ lasted for over three hours on 1080 pixels and more than two hours on 4K video. In theory, this additional 400mAh should mean that the Vaquita’s battery will outlast its predecessor. However, there is currently no information on how long the battery will last on a full charge. It will be interesting to see how the added sensors and color display affect battery life.

 
Paralenz Vaquita Dive Camera
Paralenz Vaquita is a small yet powerful underwater camera

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. It aims to help them preserve the world’s seas 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 relevant data you collect to help improve their research and ultimately save our oceans.

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 cover 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 a fault with the computer. 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 you for natural wear and tear or if you damage the camera through improper use or botched servicing carried out by yourself or an unauthorized dealer.

Paralenz Vaquita Dive Camera
Vaquita’s high-grade aluminum body fits perfectly in the palm of your hand
 

Any Ongoing Maintenance?

The Paralenz Vaquita is a small underwater camera that 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.

 

Manufacturer’s Specs and Features

  • Depth rating: 1150 feet / 350 meters
  • Temperature rating: 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit / -10 to 40 degree Celsius
  • White balance modes: Auto White Balance, Depth Controlled Color Correction (DCC)
  • FOV: 135% lens
  • Display: 0.95 inch True Color OLED 180 x 120p
  • Display: Viewfinder with dive profile overlay
  • Sensors: Pressure, Temperature, GPS, Conductivity, 9 Axis Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Time
  • Battery: 2000mAh Lithium polymer
  • Still photo resolution: 12 megapixel / RAW and jpeg
  • Video resolution: 4K-60fps / 4K HDR-30fps / 1080p-240fps
  • Video format: MOV – H264 4K 60fps / H265 4K 30fps
  • Video Bitrate: 100 Mbps
  • Housing material: 6061 Aluminium Alloy
  • Compatible with 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

What We Like

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

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavier than the DiveCamera+ but not a problem when underwater
  • Possible concerns regarding battery life with the additional sensors and full-color display
  • Having to wait 2 months for delivery!

Buy This Camera If:

Paralenz has always claimed that their cameras are “made by divers, for divers.” The Vaquita appears to be 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.

Unfortunately, there’s a waiting list for the Vaquita and you may have to wait a couple of months after ordering before you receive your camera. Paralenz is taking pre-orders via its website where you can find out the expected delivery date. In our opinion, once you receive your Vaquita, it will be well worth the wait!

Paralenz Vaquita Dive Camera
Vaquita built-in color correction allows for all the light to be collected.
Have you been lucky enough to have already used the Paralenz Vaquita? If so, leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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