RED MiniMag Reader and Side SSDWhile they aren't technically new, RED has quietly taken the wraps off of new capacities for their MiniMags, which were originally designed for the Proxy Module to record DNxHD and ProRes. Even though it was announced at NAB, that module has not been released yet, but RED has decided to take the same kind of cards and use them inside a brand new Side SSD to record RAW. In addition, RED has also increased support for a number of Canon lenses in Beta firmware v5.1.29. Read on for more on the Side SSD and Canon lens support.

Here are the details on what's new in firmware v5.1.29:

Please make sure to black shade all Dragon Cameras after upgrade.

Added support for Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS

Added support for Canon EF_24mm f/2.8

Added support for Canon EF 400mm f/2.8

Added support for Canon EF 500mm f/4

Added support for Sigma 18-35mm

Added 1/8s exposure cap for all Dragon revisions

Fix player hang with invalid in/out set points

Fix intermittent startup failure with Motion Mount installed

Fix help when displayed on 9" LCD

Fix focus size when center point is selected

Fix HDRx stop changes causing monitor artifacts

Fix PRO IO AES audio not working

Fix Serious Error message on shutdown

Image quality enhancements for Dragon

Calibration enhancements for Dragon

MiniMag 512gb and 1TB support

Click the image below to check out a video of the new Side SSD being installed:

RED MiniMag Reader and Card

It's unclear what the image quality and calibration enhancements are for DRAGON, but I imagine we're going to be seeing a lot more of those over the coming months, as it seems they are going to keep tweaking the image on the new sensor for some time. As for the MiniMags, they may still be used for proxy recording, but it looks like the main focus will be on using them for RAW, and we might finally get something very close to uncompressed RAW for those who really want it (from Jarred in the forum):

I have no idea what you are talking about since the MiniMag isn't going to be released till the end of the year, but If I were to guess:

No PRORES.. we still believe in a RAW workflow and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

Speeds increased.. so much so the readers are now 6G. Which aids in lower compression on camera, and much quicker offloading. Pretty nice since the cards are now half the size.

Here is a photo of the back of the new MiniMag reader, which has 6G eSATA, USB 3.0, and FireWire 800 (still no Thunderbolt yet):

RED MiniMag Reader

It only makes sense that media would get smaller and faster over time, and having two different sets of media for proxy and regular recording doesn't make too much sense. What RED may eventually do is more or less phase out the old media and at some point the only Side SSD with new cameras would be the MiniMag, but that likely wouldn't happen for some time. I would hope to see prices finally come down a lot on the regular SSDs, because they have stayed about the same for a few years now, even though SSD costs are now much lower.

With cameras like the ARRI AMIRA using off-the-shelf media, and Sony offering a RAW recording 512GB card for $1,800, it's time for RED to bring their prices more in line with those of other manufacturers. No matter how bulletproof RED may claim their cards are, the $3,900 512GB REDMAG is more than double the price of Sony's media. Lowering prices wouldn't make current owners of lots of media very happy, but it doesn't make sense to keep prices artificially high when others companies are coming in much lower.

These are going to be officially announced next month, and should be ready by the end of the year -- though RED is notoriously bad at keeping deadlines. If you were in the market for REDMAGs, it's probably a good idea to wait a while to see what happens with prices (as they should come down on current media).

Click the links below to download the new firmware.