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Danitrio Takumi V Nakaya Neo Standard


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#1 Painterspal

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 21:17

Danitrio Takumi v Nakaya Neo Standard - clash of the urushi-clad titans!

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When I first dipped my toe into the waters of modern handmade Japanese fountain pens, little did I realise how dangerous they might be, at least for my financial health at any rate. Anyone contemplating buying one of these pens take note – they’re seriously addictive and there’s no support group out there to wean you off them once you’re hooked, but you’ll find plenty of encouragement from other addicts here on FPN to buy more!

A Nakaya Piccolo (also reviewed here) whetted my appetite for ebonite urushi pens but failed to fully satisfy it. While a great pen in many ways, and one that has remained inked and in regular use these last 18 months, I’ve never quite got to like either the appearance of the Piccolo when uncapped (capped it looks stunning IMO) or the shape and size of the section. This latter issue is a fundamental problem for me because the area where you hold the pen is such a critical part of the design. I find the gripping area of the Piccolo too small, so I always end up holding part of the threads. I find the section a slightly odd shape too, so that I’m always vaguely conscious of it when I use it. It’s not enough to stop me and it’s easy to grip securely, but it isn’t ideal.

This led me to seriously consider buying another Japanese pen, but which one? I looked at Nakaya and Danitrio’s range and, while I was making up my mind, Nakaya introduced a new model that looked ideal – the Neo Standard, adapted from their desk pen model. It had an interesting curvy shape, a longer gripping area and the way the cap threads were integrated into the overall shape of the pen was very neat. I placed an order direct with Nakaya (which turned out to be an entirely straightforward and easy process) for a Kuro-Tamenuri finish Neo Standard with a personal Kanji and began to wait. However, I’m not renowned for my patience. The weeks ticked by and a chance discussion with Kevin Cheng (Winedoc) led me to pick up a Danitrio Takumi in Aka-Tamenuri finish (it was a good price – what else could I do?). Both pens arrived the same month; both are full size (at slightly larger than an MB149 size one might even consider them oversize), both have relatively soft, fine nibs, both are c/c fillers and both are ebonite pens in an urushi finish, they just shouted out to be reviewed together.

Packaging: the Danitrio arrived in a rather large, shiny, piano black box, with a padded, lined interior. It’s a very imposing item and looks expensive. The Nakaya arrived in one of their standard, understated wooden boxes with a pen kimono. I don’t use pen boxes but both are equally nice in their own way.

Appearance and finish: The fit and finish of both pens is exemplary. The urushi is perfectly applied and looks stunning – my photos don’t begin to do justice to these beautiful pens. The Kuro-Tamenuri finish of the Neo Standard is rather more understated than the lighter Danitrio, and the colour on the exposed edges has yet to really develop. At first glance the Nakaya looks black, but look again and you realise it’s actually the darkest red imaginable. While the Nakaya almost appears to absorb light, by contrast the Danitrio seems to glow as it sits on my desk. I don’t know what it is about urushi, but it’s a wonderful finish for a fountain pen and, after a year of use, both pens still look in ‘as new’ condition. Both share the almost organic, hand made quality that sets these pens apart from other more mass-produced alternatives.

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Ergonomics and use: Neither pen is designed to be posted, which is fine as I don’t routinely post my pens and to do so would, in this case, make the two pens absurdly long. Both are, quite frankly, ridiculously comfortable to hold and, in use, effectively disappear, becoming just an extension of my hand – which is just as it should be in my opinion. If forced to choose, I slightly prefer the Nakaya because it is marginally narrower and I have small hands, but both are fantastic and it’s invidious to criticise either. Considering their size, both pens are surprisingly light weight. The Neo Standard weighs 20g uncapped, while the Takumi is approximately 18g. Being cartridge/converter pens, neither have the heavy piston mechanism that can disrupt the balance of some large pens, e.g the Pelikan M800, but the Takumi can be converted to an eyedropper more easily than the Nakaya because the latter has some metal internal parts. I’m happy with the capacity of both converters, but heavy users might consider this an issue.

Nib: Okay, cards on the table, I initially had some issues with both pens. To begin with the Takumi would write a page or so then, suddenly, the ink would stop flowing. This was annoying but, after some trial and error, a change of converter cured the problem. The Danitrio Bock-made nib is one of the softest modern nibs I’ve used and offers some flex. However, I rarely press hard enough to exploit this quality and find it a smooth and very juicy writer. The Nakaya worked perfectly out of the box, but I found its nib a bit of an acquired taste. I chose a soft nib and, while ink flow and general performance were beyond reproach, it seemed a bit uninspiring to use – bland is the word that came to mind. A year on I’ve got to like it more. It’s rather like I imagine the suspension on a Rolls Royce to be: smooth, comfortable and very cushioned, but slightly lacking in personality or excitement. Overall it’s a good nib and it's churlish to complain as it does everything it should in an exemplary fashion, but it lacks that extra ingredient - call it star quality - that would make it a personal favourite.

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Conclusion: After a year of using these pens I can confidently say I love them both! If it was easy to swap the Nakaya's nib I’d be tempted to order a replacement stub, but I’d rather not send the whole pen away. I’ve tuned the Danitrio nib up a touch and it’s now a real favourite with lots of character. The Nakaya wins out for ergonomics, the Danitrio prevails for its writing quality. Overall, I use the Takumi more, but if the Dani nib was on the Neo Standard it might just be my favourite pen ever…

Compared to a Pelikan M800...

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Edited by Painterspal, 26 July 2010 - 21:26.

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#2 Namo

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 22:03

Great review, very informative, and beautifull pens, congratulations!

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#3 geoduc

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 22:33

Excellent review, thanks. It is very helpful to see these two pens directly compared.

#4 drifting

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 23:02

Man, I thought I was over these pens: I'd convinced myself the c/c just wasn't cool. But they're so pretty!

Great review, excellent comparison, and beautiful pictures. Thanks! I think.

Ryan.

#5 777

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 23:55

Thanks for the great review! I fancy that Danitrio Myself. Those are both beautiful pens. Congratulations on owning them!

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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#6 ethernautrix

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 00:28

What a gorgeous pair! I'm often torn between my Danitrios and Nakayas, and the Nakayas edge it by the slimmest possible amount with the firm M nib on my Piccolo.

What's nice, though, is having both. That's the way to go. I think it's the law.

I, too, was blindsided by my Nakaya, once I got the proper nib on it (started out without the firm nibs; I need firm nibs). With the firm M, I laaaaaaaaaahve it so!

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#7 fuchsiaprincess

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 00:34

Thank you for the comprehensive review! I agree with you with regards to the nibs of both pens. The best combo would be a a Danitrio nib in a neo standard body. I have two neo standards, and am quite disappointed with their nibs. On the other hand, all my Takumis are beautiful writers.

Well done!

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#8 kiavonne

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 01:35

Nice comparison.

I have both the neo standard and Takumi pens, as well. I do prefer my Takumi pens, though the neo standard is quite nice. Thank you for the review.
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#9 Soot

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:11

Great review, and love the pictures! Unfortunately don't have a Nakaya [yet?] to compare the nib difference, but I'll take your word for it. Maybe I'll just stick to Dani...LOL
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." -- A. Einstein

#10 amcw7777

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:00

Great review!
It helps me a lot.
I have a 3776. The nib of it is similar to the NAKAYA and it fits me very well.
It is said that the NAKAYA will make a pen as the requests of the user, so I think the nib should have a excellent feeling in my opinion.
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#11 JLML

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:36

Thanks for the review, it was great to see those f2f.
Just one question, since Nakaya is providing different options for the nib, which one was yours?
I can confirm the German nibs by Bock are excellent writers, they are very expensive nibs but really good everyday writers
Again thanks, you are a lucky one...those pens are gorgeous
Cheers

#12 gary

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 03:50

Very well done review, comparing and contrasting the two pens.
The photo with the 800 put them in perspective with a pen many of us are more familiar, and demonstrates the scale of the pen which makes them look deceptively smaller than their actual size.
Thanks.
gary

#13 rubyeyespenlover

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 16:11

Wow review!

Great!

Thanks.
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#14 jniforat

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 22:00

this review would make deciding extremely difficult if i had the funds...alas, i do not have the funds, and no difficult decision. but now i wish i had the funds :(

thanks for the review!

#15 Dr.Grace

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 16:50

Great review. But hmmm... after seeing the pics, now I want an M800 demo, too! Alas, it's not going to happen anytime soon.
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#16 aldi

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 03:33

Nice review!

The Pelikan is very beautiful (ooops, Takumi and Neo Standard are nice! ;) )
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#17 sallywally

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 03:49

I really enjoyed this review, too.

My problem with Dani Trios is that they seem always to have really flexi nibs, and I can write well with semiflex at most. I have small script and want an XXF nib and only a bit of flex. :(
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#18 Painterspal

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 04:48

I really enjoyed this review, too.

My problem with Dani Trios is that they seem always to have really flexi nibs, and I can write well with semiflex at most. I have small script and want an XXF nib and only a bit of flex. :(

I can certainly understand that that could be a problem. It might be worth talking to Kevin (Winedoc) as he's been able to supply me with firm Danitrio nibs as an alternative for a couple of my pens.

Thanks to all for your positive replies - very much appreciated.
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