RED teased newer mags for their cameras back in November, and now they have finally arrived, starting with a 512GB MINI-MAG. The biggest change from the old cards is that these are much cheaper and faster, so you can get better compression ratios than the older cards. How much better you ask? A chart has been posted showing exactly what kind of compression improvements you'll be looking at, and we've embedded it below.
Here is word from the forum on the MINI-MAGS:
Announcing the RED MINI-MAG System.
The new MINI-MAGS are not only 50% smaller than the existing RED MAGs, they can also read and write 30% faster.
This not only allows for lower compression ratios during recording but the new mags in combination with the new 6G readers allow for much faster offloads.
An Upgrade for all existing Scarlet/Epic/Dragons.
You'll need a brand new Side SSD and a new Reader for these cards, though you could still use your old cards at the same time with the rear SSD module. Here's what you'll need to get started with these:
And here is what sort of compression changes you'll see with the new cards, the numbers next to the resolution represent ratios, for example, 2:1 or 10:1:
As I mentioned in the previous post, I thought there was a chance these were going to come in cheaper to reflect how memory prices have fallen, and that is absolutely the case. While $2,450 for a 512GB card might seem very expensive on the surface, it's actually the exact same price as the current 1.8" 256GB card. That means you're getting twice the storage for the same price. The current 1.8" 512GB card is $3,900, so you can get 1 Terabyte of storage for a little more than the old 512GB card. These prices are much more in line with other high-end media from Sony and ARRI.
So what if you own the older cards? It seems you're a bit out of luck, as they worked on an adapter to fit into the 1.8" slot but it was unwieldy. This sort of thing isn't new if you've been around cameras, as formats change all the time, but the positive development is that the prices are heading downwards. Right now they aren't happy with prices for the 1TB cards, so they are waiting on a better deal before offering them for sale. They will likely be somewhere around $4,000-$4,500 based on the way RED has priced cards in the past, but we'll have to wait and see.
If you're wondering why the old cards are not going down in price, Jarred offered and interesting explanation:
Heh heh it would be nice to be able to dictate to the handful of memory manufactures in the world the exact layout and chip size and process and format we want but that is a reality that is not going to happen unless we either sold 100s of millions of cameras or if we charged you $100,000 per mag.
You are right, We do have custom firmware because of the way we write to the cards... but the actual silicon is not something we control... because it doesn't make sense to invest the money to do so, as that dramatic increase in cost would fall on you guys.
And for the same reason, we do not get monthly commodity pricing on memory. We need to make large orders to be able to get the qty needed to even be able to talk to memory manufactures about getting us special runs for extra the testing and firmware we require. So the price it costs us for the 256gb large cards today is the same as we paid last year on memory because thats when we purchased and inventoried them... and remember, these cards are only a few years old, not far from the 18 month normal cycle. If we do get a break in pricing because we sell out of inventory and have the opportunity to renegotiate pricing for a replacement order, then you guys see that break as you have seen in the past.