Friday, August 24, 2012

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen - Green Body + Fine Nib

Ever since my first fountain pen, the Platinum Preppy, back in 2010, I've been pining for a Lamy Safari.  I kept looking at them, but every time I did, I thought, "If only they came in green...."  Then, 2012 came around and guess what the new limited edition colour of the Lamy Safari was?  Green!  Yes, there was no doubt about it - this had to be the year in which I would finally have a Lamy Safari of my very own.  I wrote about my excitement over my purchase a couple months ago, and now I'm ready to actually review my new green Lamy Safari fountain pen.


First of all, this green Lamy Safari is a very beautiful pen.  My photos do not do it justice at all, and the colour is so much more vibrant in person.  It is absolutely the most perfect shade of green - not too dark, not too light, not too yellow, without a hint of blue, not overly bright and certainly not muted either - it is just the perfect green in every way.  The pen itself is made of a sturdy plastic with just the right sheen to it - not matte, but not too shiny either.

View of the grip, and the nib.  The nib is not that exciting to look at, but it is exciting to write with!
The grip is designed to guide your fingers into the correct writing position.  This may annoy some people but I appreciate it since I have discovered that I actually hold my pens the wrong way.  Holding the Safari the "right" way still feels a bit awkward, but it does prevent the issue that I was having with my other fountain pens: when I hold my pens the "wrong" way, I actually tend to rotate the pen in my hand as I write, which means that, if I'm using a fountain pen and I'm not careful, I can end up writing with the nib upside down!  With the Lamy Safari, however, this isn't a problem, because I am being constantly reminded by the grip to hold the pen correctly.  Hopefully, this will build a habit and eventually encourage me to use all of my pens correctly.

This is the only branding on the pen (it's hidden when you're writing with the cap posted) and it is just right.
Other features that I like: the unobtrusive ink window on either side of the pen so you can check out the ink supply, the Lamy logo on the end of the pen that appears to be an actual part of the design of the pen and not just some random ugly branding, and the awesome metal clip that can actually be used to clip onto things!  Imagine that... a clip that you can actually clip with.  I'm used to the exceedingly wimpy clips that most (inferior) pens have, so this one is pretty awesome.  And another great feature: the price.  Although I must admit that this is the most expensive pen I have ever bought, it is still very affordable compared to most of the other nice fountain pens out there.  And because this pen is so well-made (and comes with a lifetime warranty from Lamy), I am sure that I will be able to use it for many years to come.  So it is well worth the price!  If you used to buying cheap ballpoints or gel pens, don't be scared to give this one a try.  It may seem expensive compared to those pens, but you are going to get a lot more use out of it.

Awesome clip.  And I love the cross-shaped design on the end.
Now, onto what may be for many of you the most important feature of any pen - the nib.  When I was buying this pen, I had the hardest time trying to decide between the fine and the extra-fine nibs.  I knew from reading other reviews that the fine was not really very fine, but I was afraid that the extra-fine might be scratchy.  So in the end I decided to play it safe and I settled for the fine nib.  I wish now, however, that I had chosen the extra-fine because, although the nib is marked "F", I am beginning to suspect that that really stands for "fat" and not "fine" at all.  Still, Lamy nibs are sold separately and are interchangeable, so I will be able to replace my fine nib with an extra-fine nib if I wish - and I am so absolutely in love with this pen otherwise that the unfine fine nib really doesn't bother me very much.  The best thing about the nib is that it is very smooth.  Seriously smooth.  It is not scratchy at all, and it flows so smoothly that no excessive pressure is needed to write, making it truly a joy to use.

I apologize for having made so many mistakes when I was writing this.  Please ignore the scribbled-out words, and if there are any other errors that I missed scribbling out, please ignore those as well.  Also ignore my messy handwriting.  It looks better in person.
From the written review, you can see that I'm still using the boring blue cartridge that came with my Lamy Safari.  However, I should say that the ink in the Lamy cartridge is actually not that bad.  Feathering is minimal and there is only slight bleedthrough even on poorer-quality paper, while on quality Rhodia paper the combination of pen and ink is simply heavenly.  The ink also has some lovely shading going on, and the colour, although a relatively boring shade of blue, is bright.  At some point I want to buy a converter and some nice bottled inks (green, of course) to use with this pen.  Bottled inks still scare me a bit (I have this totally irrational fear that I'm going to either wreck the pen somehow and/or get ink all over everywhere), so I may be sticking with cartridges for a while yet.  But this pen is absolutely begging me (yes, my pens talk to me - don't your pens talk to you? please say it isn't just me) to fill it with green ink, so I may have to at least invest in some cartridges of green ink!


In conclusion, I am very, very happy with my very first Lamy Safari.  I felt a bit nervous buying it since it was more money than I had ever spent on a single pen before, but I have not been disappointed AT ALL.  My Lamy and I likely have many years ahead of us to get to know each other, and I am looking forward to those years very much.  If I can add an extra-fine nib and some green ink, then I will be even happier, but since this pen is absolutely so gorgeous, and the green colour is absolutely so perfect, I suspect that I would be perfectly content to just sit and look at this pen and not even write with it at all.  Yes.  It is just that good.

Related reviews (probably only a sampling of the many reviews of this pen (in all its incarnations) that are out there): Gourmet PensPentorium (a very detailed and lengthy review), Rants of the Archer, The Bent Needle, Write to Me Often (not really a review, but includes a lovely photo of Safaris in a rainbow of colours), Fountain Pen GeeksStationery Review, Writing and Scribbling, UnpostedOfficeSupplyGeek, Coffee-Stained Memos, Spiritual Evolution of the Bean.

Also, check out this look at Lamy's inter-changeable nibs at Planet Millie and this Lamy nib comparison at Peninkcillin (and this one at Write to Me Often), or, for a totally different opinion, check out why Stationery Traffic hates the Lamy Safari.

24 comments:

  1. I really love mine, as you already know. I did get the extra-fine, and it's not scratchy at all. I've written two letters with the ink cartridge and it's still not empty, so I haven't tried my converter yet.

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  2. And then one Lamy turns into 5, so you can have all kinds of ink colors at the same time... then the 5 Lamys get a new friend... a Pilot Vanishing Point... which initially makes you have a lump in your throat when you swipe the debit card... until you write with it. Welcome to the party! :)

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    1. Thanks, Lilardie! And oh dear, I can already feel the desire to own another Lamy or perhaps a different fountain pen building up already. I'll try to resist for a while, but I know that any resistance will be futile in the end!

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  3. You are right "Lilardie" one does turn into more, each with it's own ink color and nib size. I want one of the old vanishing points but life has kicked me and made me stumble (substitute - retire early [@62]), but I will get there. Anyway I use mine for drawing tangles mostly, althou I do write a bit and all Lamys are wonderful to write with.

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  4. I love my Lamy Safaris (I have 2, including a green one, inspired by your post!) for all the reasons you mentioned. After 40 years of gripping pens incorrectly, I've been able to switch, partly thanks to my Lamys, and it does make a difference in the quality of my handwriting (plus my hand doesn't tire as quickly).

    As for bottled inks... go for it! I rinse my nibs really well between refills and haven't had any problems yet. :-)

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    1. Thanks, MEK! I hope that my handwriting does improve as well; I've just been noticing that it's really kind of messy and not very interesting to look at.

      I really should just try bottled inks. As long as I make sure to rinse things as you said, it will probably be fine.

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  5. Bottled inks'll give you good value over cartridges, Heather. There are a few Web sites (Goulet Pens, e. g.) that let you do a side-by-side comparison of ink swabs. Bottled inks last a long time. I settled on Private Reserve: blacks and browns for writing; greens and reds for highlighting, underscoring, etc.

    I used to favor my fountain pens, showing excessive caution in using them. Well, they're sturdy, all of them. I'll clean nib and converter once in a while in a mild solution of dishwashing detergent. But, I'll also freely switch from one ink color to the next when I empty a converter with only a quick rinse of the nib under cool tap water before switching. I've had no problems.

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    1. Thanks, Jack! I should check into that comparison, because there are just so many inks available that one of the hardest things will probably simply be choosing my first colours. I think I'll probably start with a nice dark green...

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    2. Thanks, Heather. BTW-I once thought-briefly-that choice of ink color might have some psychological significance. Well, maybe, if you're writing in polka-dot, I suppose, or less commonly used tints and shades. But, I think there've been some folks in the writing community who've demonstrated that you can write even business correspondence (i. e., signatures) in most primary colors without putting people off. Pick what you like.

      Yep, if you're budget-minded, you'd want to check reviews and swabs to avoid buyer's remorse. I lucked out. I started out with Private Reserve, and, after reading a bunch of reviews and scratching my head, discovered that PR's saturation (way more than relatively pale ballpoint ink) is what I really like. So I stuck with PR.

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  6. BTW-that was my post above. Jack/Ohio

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  7. I love my Lamy Safaris - I have the green in an extra fine nib - it writes beautifully. But, man oh man, I ADORE my broad nib Safari.

    And now that you've bought one - well, I'm sure you'll have more fountain pens very soon! ;)

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    1. Thanks, Christine! I can't imagine writing with a broad nib, since even the fine seems broad to me :)

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  8. Lamy safari Fountain Pens have the best writings and grip. Really recommended for fountain pen lovers. Thanks for sharing the post.

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  9. Very nice review - glad you're enjoying your new pen!

    If you're used to fine tip gel pens, especially like those Pentel Sliccis - yes, fountain pens can seem pretty broad. That said, Lamys tend to run a little on the wide side - not necessarily a bad thing, just something to keep in mind. For marginalia (and marking student papers) I use an extra fine nib.

    Just so you know - it's possible to purchase just the nibs for a fairly reasonable price. You could buy a couple of different widths to try, to see if you like them. They're easy to replace. And they also come in italic. Just saying :)

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    1. Thanks, Sophie! I really don't know what I was thinking when I chose the fine over the extra-fine. I knew all that about the nibs being broader, I was just over-thinking things, I guess!

      I definitely think I will get an extra-fine nib at some point, and, who knows, maybe some others as well. Italic might be fun to try...

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  10. oops. I should have read your post more carefully. You already know about the interchangeable nibs! Um...yes. The extra fine works great :)

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  11. I'm going to have to google and find out what an "italic" nib is!

    I just purchased my own Lamy Safari (I went with the black so that I can comfortably switch colors of ink without getting upset for having the "wrong" color in the pen ;-).

    I am very happy with this pen using Waterman ink. I have been using brown gel pens for a while. They're something a bit different. I work in a male-dominanted industry so I'm not comfortable using most colors (I do sometimes use green instead of red). I used to have a sailor pen with a brown that looked like iodine. I used that for marking up documents.

    But the brown works really work. It's a very interesting color (this is a darker brown that photocopies extremely well.

    I LOVE THIS. The only thing that would change from super happy to giddy would be if they made a brown Lamy so that my ink matched my pen. I realize I can use any color ink, but I always have a brown ink pen on me, so it would be nice if the pen itself was brown. I don't want it in clear because I have a clear sailor candy (hate it, by the way) and two clear platinum preppy pens.

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    1. I would love a brown Lamy as well. Brown is probably my next favourite colour after green and the one brown gel pen I currently own (a 0.3mm Pilot Hi-Tec-C) has become one of my favourite pens.

      I'll probably be using green ink nearly all the time in this pen, so I wasn't worried about having the "wrong" colour ink in it!

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  12. Nice job! If you like fountain pens you should look at Noodler's Ink fountain pens. I have several and love them all. Noodler's also sells many great colors of Ink, and many green inks!

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    1. There are just so many inks out there - but I'll definitely consider Noodler's inks as well when the day comes to choose my inks!

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  13. I have the 2011 Lamy Safari in Aquamarine and Im happy with it. Worth every penny. I used private reserves naples blue ink. So perfect! Looking forward to another Lamy this year. Last christmas I bought myself a ST Dupont pen, its also a limited edition pen designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Another splurge LOL. So I have to wait a couple of months to buy my next pen to add to my collection.

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  14. If you use a Lamy Pen, it is best to use Lamy Ink. I have tried other upmarket inks that have an excellent heritage, but LAMY is best. I use a syringe to re-fill the LAMY cartrige - very neat and less messy than the converter!
    Love my LAMY med nib Safari.

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    1. The problem with Lamy inks is that they don't come in many colours - no orange, no brown, and a very boring green. I want to try out several different brands of inks and hopefully I will be able to settle on a few inks that I love to use.

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