I did some test to compare UT to Lagarith, and I don't recall the exact figures, but UT was signifigant faster. I use the UT for intermediate files.
When I first started using the DNxHD codec, the first thing I did was the same as you.
I made a direct comparison with the original composite, an uncompressed image
sequence, and a UT codec .avi (which I regularly use as a final master archive format).
Despite the fact that the DNxHD codec is classified as 'lossy', I have found that
in close inspection the 'loss' is not discernable to the eye.. and I use DNxHD
as a cross-platform master format with collaborating mac users.
The only disadvantage working with DNxHD in Premiere is the 32 bit QT pipeline,
but I'm sold on the quality of the exports I have made from CS5.0.3.
As for comparison of export times... I never bothered.
The quality of the final product is my only concern, and with final master exports
happening at the end of a project, the time required for clean encodes is not an issue...
nor is the size of the resulting file.
Cheers, and welcome to WinWorld!
Thanks Joe. You make some excellant points. And in light of the fact there just are no good alternatives at this point, I may just continues using DNxHD as well. The time to export masters for long form projects might still be an issue for clients at the end of session, but until there is a good alternative I will just have to deal with that.