For many years I had owned the Canon Pro9000 and it served me well. At the time, it provided excellent prints and possibly the best dye printer ever made that could provide details into the shadow areas. When the MP980 appeared and the engineers from Canon mentioned that the gray inks in the printer was also used int he 980, I purchased one to see what the story was.
Despite marketing claims that the gray inks was for monochrome or B&W printing, engineering whom I trust more, had indicated otherwise. I imagine it is simple to explain to the general public that gray inks was used for B&W. However, conccurrently owning and using Epson K3 ( Three K's or gray/Blacks...the K and 3). I also knew better.
So I purchased the 980 and started using it. The quality of output was indeed interesting. I could not put my finger on it but the prints were indeed superior to similar machines like the iP4600 that did not use the gray inks. There was a purity of tone as it descended into the shadow areas. This was never really indicated in reviews I read about the 980. However, having made hundreds of profiles and a pile of used papers higher than three feet mainly of profiles had provided me with an eye. There was something to this gray ink business. I had reported this on a forum and sure enough the skeptics rolled in with no experience to really comment only thinking color is for color and gray is for B&W. Exactly what the Canon marketers knew would happen.
So when there was news of the Pro-100 sporting 3 Ks. I knew that there was possibly something to this printer. Before I got my hands on my sample and started using it. The reviews were somewhat mixed about this. Again the reviewers were staying with the marketing line....not surprising. However none had investigated the color shadow details.
The K3 printers from Epson spoiled me for this aspect and though the Pro9000 was good, it was not to the Epson ability. The Pro-100 can do it, and I think it is superior. Now Canon mentions the OIG system and from my observations this is really a tight matching system to paper and ink. Where Canon has optimized their inks to match their papers. Advanced used know this aspect in ICC profiles but Canon looks to have really tightly optimized this.
To make a long story short. I now find that this printer is everything one would want in what the Epson could provide. Canon even copied the Epson advanced B&W driver into their version. While a comparison between the Epson 1400/1430 was valid for the Pro9000. The Pro-100 is a distinctly superior printer to the Epson dye ink offering. The Pro-100 allows a user to tone a B&W image similar to what Epson K3 allows. Additionally none of the reviews caught onto the aspect that Canon's drivers have been further brought up to date that allows DIRECT use of custom ICC profiles. So that if one wanted to use the Pro-100 in a photobooth with an excellent app like what Breezesystems provides, it is entirely possible.
For many many people, this printer will provide a real alternative to the Epson K3 system. Much less expensive to own. Vibrant colors that still leaves the pigments behind and excellent shadow detail. The Pro9000 B&W was always touchy with the ink paper balance. The Pro-100 looks to be better at this.
OK, the one thing it doesn;t have is archival quality. Well, YES and NO. That largely becomes a non issue if the correct papers are chosen. Using swellable papers like HP Premium Plus or Ilford Galerie CLASSIC line put this pretty close to the pigments. If 50+ years is not enough, well then move onto pigment inks. Portraits in Ilford Galerie CLASSIC Pearl is out of this world. I must mention that while I found that the Pro9000 had difficulties using HP Premium Plus because ink pooling would occur in darker browns and greens, none of this occurs in the Pro-100. Why? Because the Pro9000 uses a lot of PhotoMagenta and PhotoCyan and mixes these down to make a lot of mid to dark tone. The excess of ink causes drying issues. The Pro-100 uses the gray inks and a lot less ink to generate the darker tones. This translates into more linear ink behavior and better compatibility with many papers. ..( Less ink useage and less business for me).
For the hobbyist in photo contests etc. In my opinion there exists no finer printer today. Especially considering that one could get one with rebates as of May 2013. My take is that it is the BEST dye ink printer ever produced to date. Period.