15 Apr 2005
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United Kingdom
I dont use my printer much, and whenever i come to use it i find the inks have dried up or otherwise appear empty to the printer. This I can cope with, since I use compatibles at about 2 quid a pop (its an Epson photo R300).

However, when printing photos, they come out very dark! I use the contrast setting in windows image viewer, to lower the contrast right down, but it makes the images quite grainy / pale / featureless when printing. Is there any change I can make to the printer driver or any windows settings so it prints paler? I just printed a photo of the march snow, against the snow the walls looked almost black! And a photo of me and R lass looked dreadful! (Dont tell her though) - we look so dark!

Any advise?
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I use compatible cartridges on the wife's all in one epson, giving reasonable results for day to day crap like printing out my work for the day, but I wouldn't use that junk in my photo printer, or in any printer that I expected to get a passable photo out of.
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Sounds like your problem is more with the original photos than with the printer. Alot of the time a picture looks good on a bright screen, but if it's not calibrated to the printer then they'll never look the same.

By brightening it with the image viewer you're brightening a dark picture, which will always highlight 'noise'. Snow is a particularly difficult situation for a digital camera to expose correctly for so it might be compensating by reducing the exposure and hence making dark pictures.

Alot of modern screens (my laptop for example) display pictures alot lighter than they should be. One way to try to sort it out is to go to start-control panel and run Adobe Gamma. This wizard might help sort your calibration out.