A camera for divers designed by divers. That’s how Paralenz advertises there brand new innovation. With it’s electronic stabilization, automatic color correction, 4k 30fps function and 3 hours of recording time the Paralenz is a promising camera for sure but does it deliver on this promise?
The first time I took the Paralenz out of the box I was suprised that it was that small. The dimensions only measure 116 x 35 x 38 mm and this makes it easy to put the camera in the pocket of your bc for instance. Operating the Paralenz is done in quite a innovative way. There is a ring which turns with which you can select the different modes and with the forward moving button you can set it to record or confirm an option. This is easily done even if you are wearing gloves.
Specs, specs, specs
The specifications of the Paralenz are quite impressive. The housing is waterproof up 200 meters deep making it suitable even for technical dives. On one full battery you can film an impressive 2 hours in 4k and 3 hours in full HD. In the camera there is a sensor for temperature and depth which it will record. After your dive it’s possible to overlay the temperature and depth over your footage or use this data to log your dive. The handy app for Android and IOS is free and also displays all this data in many forms. It will do 4K in 30 fps, 1080p in 100 fps and 720p in 200 fps furthermore the Paralenz has electronic image stabilization and a white balance which adjusts itself to depth. But more on this later on.
Mountin the Paralenz
Like it’s main compatitor the GoPro, Paralenz has a fast array of different mounts available. Different to the GoPro is the way the Paralenz mounts. There are no nuts and bolts needed and the camera just clicks onto the mount with the rails on the bottom. The mount is sturdy and secure like with the GoPro which is a great feat without any hardware. One of the most eye-catching mounts of the paralenz is the 3rd person mount. This places you in the image in a different way then a selfie stick. The other mounts include a mask mount, ball head mount and a speargun mount. Up until today there are no after market mounts available from other manufactures.
Taking the Paralenz for a spin
The Paralenz is fairly easy to use despite a few hiccups. First off Paralenz recommends that you have a freshly formatted SD card in your camera. When you don’t have this the camera sometimes tells you a video is saved when it’s really not. If you have acces to a computer this isn’t a big deal but when you are on your holiday with just one SD card this is rather annoying. Especially when you have just captured the biggest shark of your live! A big plus of the Paralenz is the way it’s operated. With the wheel on the front you select your mode and with the sliding button on the front you select an option or hit record. This system works great even if you are wearing gloves.
In the end it all comes down to the image quality. First and foremost the Paralenz is a video camera. The stills are reasonable but are not as good as for instance a Sealife camera. The video on the other hand is great. Especially with the automatic white balance turned on. The depth sensor inside the camera recognizes the depth and changes the white balance accordingly. Thanks to this your images have great color like with no other camera. We can’t emphasizes enough how good this option is and it works with green and blue water alike. Circumstances with high dynamic range are less suited for the Paralenz. The camera tends to overexpose the highlights which is a pity. The Electronic image stabilization works as well but since it’s an optical one you still need to keep the camera as still as possible.
Is the Paralenz Worth a Buy?
The Paralenz has achieved something for divers which no other camera ever achieved. The automatic correcting white balance is great and yields a great image. The lack of a display can be troublesome for some video shooters but the angle of vision is pretty big and you should be able to get your subject in frame without a problem. The controls of the camera are easy to use but it’s bullshit that you have to format your SD-Card after every use. If you don’t do this you run the risk of video’s not being saved which can be a real pain in the ass. Overall the firmware is being updated regularly and Paralenz tends to listen to their users, so we are convinced Paralenz are able to fix the firmware issues.
Nonetheless it is a major downside to buy a $ 599,- camera which still has a lot of bugs in it. If you are a beginner underwater shooter and you want to step up your game then the Paralenz is worth considering because of the great images it yields. But make sure you know what your getting into because there are still a few issue’s which need resolving before the Paralenz becomes a insta-buy!