There’s a new player in the underwater dive camera market: the Paralenz Dive Camera. How does it hold up under the waves?

There are lots of options when it comes to underwater photography and the Paralenz Dive Camera is a new player on the market. This small camera is tough, takes both pictures and video, doesn’t require color filters, and is easy to use.  It has a built-in pressure sensor that autocorrects the color according to your current depth, though using a flashlight when deeper than 65 feet (20 m) will help immensely. The camera also features a temperature sensor, and you can overlay both the depth and temperature onto your images or video.  The controls are simple, so once you have the settings the way you want, you can just turn the video on or off with your thumb, which is convenient for gloved divers.

While some other action cameras are designed for sports in general, Paralenz was designed specifically for divers — not only for divers, but also by divers.

Diver Tested – Diver Approved

Paralenz chose a unique development process: they engaged the community. Once they had a good beta version of the camera after 1.5 years of research and development, they selected 250 testers from 38 countries to help them fine tune the end-product. Based the A-testers’ feedback, the company made dozens and dozens of improvements and corrections during the testing process.

The testers I spoke with were unanimous in their praise on how Paralenz responded to their issues and suggestions, as well as the community Paralenz created. Testers could help each other in the community, right alongside the Paralenz representatives who spoke directly to the testers about their questions and concerns. Each of them felt valued, listened to, and loved that they positively contributed to the development of what they felt was a great camera.

“I liked feeling that my feedback counted for something and I was listened to and appreciated by the Paralenz team,” said tester Emily Pepperman. “I felt helpful and excited that I was contributing to a final-production diving camera that I would love and continue to use on my dives.”

Another tester, Aaron, was surprised at how quickly Paralenz responded to issues.  And tester Chris Maka felt that the social-media foundation they’ve built with their near-constant social interaction and obvious respect for the users will be the key to Paralenz’s success.

I don’t want to make their unconventional testing process the entire focus of this piece, but their dedication to a good product, their respect for the users and their opinions, and the community they’ve built deserves recognition.

Here are some clips I took with my Paralenz. 

Specs

  • Weight: 5.5 ounces (155 g)
  • Battery life: LiPo – 1600 mAh/Over three hours recording (1080p – 30 fps) or over two hours recording (4K – 30 fps)
  • Can be fully charged in one to two hours
  • Memory: Uses a micro-SD card up to 64GB
  • Paralenz Dive app: Viewing/Sharing/Settings (iOS and Android)
  • Video Resolution: 4k-30 fps/1080p-100 fps/720p-200 fps
  • Still Resolution: 8 MP
  • White Balance: Normal + DCC (Depth Color Correction) (can be turned on/off)
  • Video Format: MOV – H.264 codec
  • USB-C port (for charging)
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Pressure/temperature sensors
  • Safe for use up to 656 feet (200 meters); military-grade aluminum
  • Microphone
  • Accessories like a mask mount, 3rd-person viewer

Pros

I love this camera. First, it takes great video. That’s what it’s made to do, so it’s important to mention that first. Other cameras take good video, so what makes this one stand out?  Well, for me, the size of the camera and easy use really make the Paralenz shine. I can (and often do) tuck this camera under the wrist of my wetsuit, which puts it out of the way until I’m ready to use it. Sometimes I’m carrying more than one camera (one for stills, one for video), and I may not need the video until later in the dive. With the camera safely tucked away in my sleeve or in a pocket, I don’t have to worry about banging it around.

The camera is also light and easy to hold, much like a small torch. I can put the wrist strap on and even if I need to “drop” it to use my hand for something else, it’s not cumbersome hanging on my wrist. Using it is easy because I can do it with just one hand, though I occasionally use two to help steady my shot.

While I can manage the settings underwater pretty easily, most often all I’m doing is turning it on and off — with just my thumb. It’s so simple. I don’t even have to look at it. The camera vibrates to let me know it’s turned on/off.

The microphone is good as well. Although normally not that important, on a recent trip we encountered a singing whale. I recorded  the sound clearly and crisply with the Paralenz.

Finally, it handles color correction automatically without extra filters. I love that!

Cons

No camera is perfect. And, really this has more to do with the user learning how to best use the camera. For now, there is no video view screen on the Paralenz, so this means when I’m aiming it at something, I’m guessing whether I have the subject in the frame or not. This can be alleviated a bit by practicing above water with the camera to become more familiar with the camera frame. I’ve heard through the grapevine that a small video viewscreen might be coming, though.

Summary

If you’re looking for a video camera just for diving, I would point you to the Paralenz. The camera itself is great. The community Paralenz has created, with near-immediate response to all issues, questions, and requests, the respect they have for the users, and their dedication to creating a fantastic camera, is the cherry on top. I didn’t use the Wi-Fi or the dive app because those aren’t personal needs, but of course those will be useful to many divers. And the third-person viewer accessory looks cool and unique.

Pros list

Small – easy to tuck away

Light – not cumbersome when hanging from lanyard

Simple to use

Takes great video

Real-time color correction

Great microphone

Cons list

No video viewscreen

 

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