Monday, March 11, 2013

Lamy Safari & Al-Star Nib Size Comparison

 
What do you do on a perfectly clear and breezy day? For me, I take backyard glamour shots (of different junks I own). This time, I managed to snap some close-up of some Lamy steel nibs on Safari and Al-Star. I guess now I really need the new special edition shade Safari, just to complete the Primary Colors (of light and pigments) theme.
The extra fine nib was very problematic at first (it was scratchy, laying down lines that are thin, faint and uneven) but after 8 months of breaking-in (didn't even work despite it gave me another bump on my middle finger), tine flossing (worked a bit but I suspect it's just because I switched ink), nib-swapping (I yanked it out too hard so the tine misaligned further and turned extra scratchy) and messing around with tweezers, it finally became usable!
 
Al-Star Medium (you can see the pink precipitate and yellow sheen from Diamine cerise)the nib is the same but it's difficult to hold all three Safari together with this in a straight line. Starting from fine, all the nib have been smooth, consistent and reliable for daily writing. My writing looks the neatest with the EF but I usually go with fine/medium (they don't look all that different) because ink flow better on the two. The broad is nice and wet and a perfect replacement for marker pen (when I draw/doodle) but it sometime slips on the page.
Writing sample of the different nib sizes: Extra Fine - Diamine Meadow (another killer shader),  Fine - Noodler's Bulletproof Black, Medium - Diamine Cerise, Broad - Lamy Turquoise.
As you can see, the Lamy EF is the only nib size that's suitable for daily Chinese writing (on standard notebook ruling). The horizontal strokes start to merge when using the fine nib and I am not even writing traditional characters (which are more complex in form and favored when it comes to calligraphy). The three horizontal strokes becomes a big glob when I use the broad. 

Overall: Lamy Safari and Al-star are pretty good writers even though they are not as good (in terms of performance per unit price) as those more affordable Japanese pens. I bought them for the limited edition factor and design so I guess they are worth it...sort of.

8 comments:

  1. Lamy nibs win my affection over time, as I only bought replacement nibs in different sizes. At first I found them average, but the longer I use, more I like them. I especially prefer the EF and the calligraphy nibs.

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    1. Now I know which nib size to get for my next Safari! I always need something thick to title some of my stupid comic (since my plumix was kind of scratchy)...

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    2. I have both 1.1 and 1.5mm nibs and I like the flow for both. The swappable nibs make ink testing a whole lot easier :)

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  2. Lovely pictures! I have all these nibs and I think they're fantastic. Now you've got me curious about the Diamine Meadow.. :)

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    1. Well, so far I know that it shades really well (and it's already sold out at Jetpen after their clearance sale)and the color is so fresh that I can almost smell the grassy when I use it.

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  3. How scratchy is the EF? Right now I have a fine safari and going to get a second one so I don't have to keep taking this one back and forth to work (waiting for sailor ink to come back in stock on jetpens). I'll probably end up buying EF and then if I don't like it just swap nibs but curious what your thoughts are. Also what are these "more affordable japanese pens" you speak of?

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    1. I don't know the scale to measure scratch but my EF had been fairly unpleasant to use until recently (not only it made quite a bit of noise, the line it lays down was either very faint or uneven). I somehow convined myself that's how pen should write (since I hadn't touched fountain pens for around 10 years) until I tried Pilot 78g ($7) and Pilot penmanship (around $8), both are must more pleasant to use right out of the packaging (there was no box). I think the metropolitan ($15) should also work well, since it uses the same nib as 78g/penmanship.

      I think I just had bad luck with the EF (many did, just judging from the reviews at fountain pen network), a nib that can go wrong easily. In some occasions, it would be smooth but as broad as a "fine". It's not necessarily bad but I think Lamy's quality control isn't that consistent with lower-end pens, I suppose.

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