Saturday, January 12, 2013
A Review of the Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
First Impressions (8)
Stealthy is the only way to describe my initial impressions of the charcoal model. The 2012 special edition “green apple” blinds the eyes, initially, until one gets used to it (I certainly never expected how much I would come to enjoy it). As for the Lamy Safari demonstrator, also known as the Lamy Vista, more beautiful demonstrators exist, yet this certainly looks to be a nice one.
The appearance of a Lamy Safari carries more of a rugged feel than a sleek, classy feel. From the large clip, typically in a color that complements the body, to the body itself, often in a slick plastic, the Safari screams “solid, beginner pen!” to me. The brighter colors are faintly reminiscent of Lego bricks, and the charcoal is the only Safari that is a matte color.
The triangular grip is a feature, which I have found is not for everyone. I, personally, enjoy it, and I have used my Safari for long stretches of writing with absolutely no discomfort. The cap posts solidly and connects with the body for a solid capping. A small window in the barrel allows for quick viewing of the ink level in the converter or cartridge. Finally, the clip is quite hardy and would perform equally well, being clipped to a shirt pocket or to the pocket of a pair of pants. Despite the solid feel, the plastic is light, and, while I would not term this pen a lightweight, it definitely does not fall into the category of being a heavy pen.
The multitude of nib options is wonderful. The fact that nibs come in both black and silver is also wonderful. The charcoal Safari looks best with a black nib, in my opinion, and the demonstrator looks best with a silver. Yet, beyond the colors of these nibs, the looming question is about performance. The extra-fine nibs have a decent amount of feedback, and they can sometimes be a bit scratchy, but mine have never had issues (I credit them being well-aligned). The fine nib is just as smooth as the nib that came with my slightly pricier Parker Urban, and it puts down a very consistent line. I cannot speak to the medium, broad, or any of the three calligraphy nibs, but they are certain to please, if their quality is like that of those that I have.
Filling System (8)
The Lamy Safari takes a proprietary Lamy cartridge or Lamy converter, of which there are several options. While the proprietary cartridge usage bugs me slightly, the fact that there are options for converters is nice. Each of my three Safaris has the Lamy Z24 converter in it, and those converters, while they do not often come with the pen, are excellent investments.
Cost and Value (9)
The value of a Lamy Safari has been debated back and forth. Typically, the price point for them is between 25 and 30 USD. Some have argued that this price is completely justified, while others think that $20 is more of a fair price. In my opinion, for such a versatile, hardy pen, the price falls at a very good point, especially for use as a starter pen. That being said, I do wish that every Safari came with a converter. If they did, that would solidify the price as being perfect, in my mind. Some places do, in fact, provide a converter. My Safari demonstrator was purchased for about $25, and the seller included a converter, while the special edition apple green cost $28, from a different retailer, and a converter was not included.
In conclusion, I am not sure that there is much more that can I can add to what I have already said. As a pen for someone, who is absolutely interested in getting into fountain pens, the Safari fits the bill. As a versatile pen for someone, who is not certain what to buy next, the Safari also satisfies. The wide variety of nibs that are available, coupled with the ease of changing them, gives the user a great many options, when it comes to how the Safari is used.
The Lamy Safari can be purchased from The Goulet Pen Company, here; iSellPens.com, here; and JetPens, here. This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
Feel free to post any questions or comments!