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Diamine Midnight


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#1 carpedavid

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 12:53

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When I first put Diamine Midnight to paper, I thought to myself that it was a nice, but not particularly interesting dark blue ink. Then I looked closer, and closer, and closer – and got drawn right in. For those willing to pay attention, this ink has a wonderful sense of depth that captures the variability and mystery of the nighttime sky. In fact, in the more saturated sections, there's a hint of red that peeks out, giving it an almost sinister look. This is the dark blue of a steampunk starscape – of Victorian London, where Dracula and Jack the Ripper lurk in the shadows.

It is a moderately saturated dark blue with a hint of indigo. In a fine nib, it exhibits a modicum of shading – just enough to give it a rich, complex feel. In a calligraphy nib, one can see significant areas of high and low saturation, and a mysterious red border between the two. The color is not particularly affected by the color of the paper – on both the bright white Ecosystem and off-white Rhodia webbie, the color remained consistent.

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Midnight is a well-behaving ink, a characteristic that I've found in each of the Diamine inks I've reviewed so far. On both absorbent paper, like Ecosystem, and resistant paper, like Rhodia, feathering was not noticeable. Show through was noticeable on thinner paper, like a Moleskine cahier, but otherwise very low. I noticed only one very minor issue of bleed-through with any of the paper and pen combinations – the 6mm Pilot Parallel calligraphy pen caused a tiny spec to peek through.

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As with the other Diamine inks I've reviewed, water resistance is not an included feature. The smear test, in which I rub a wet finger across the page, obscured the lines and left a blue smudge behind. The drip test, in which I let droplets of water sit on the page for about a minute before blotting them, left ghostly, pale blue impressions of the lines behind.

The soak test, in which I run the paper under a faucet for half a minute, did a great job of washing the ink right off the page. Midnight is not a waterproof ink – it doesn't even achieve the "addressing an envelope" level of resistance – so I'd recommend leaving it for journals or other things that have a low risk of encountering moisture.

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Diamine inks are available in a 30ml plastic bottle and an 80ml glass bottle, both of which are utilitarian in appearance. The smaller plastic bottle has a neck that is very small in diameter. I found that some of my larger pens, like a Lamy 2000, would not fit all the way in, which made getting to the ink a bit of a challenge. My recommendation would be to go for the larger bottle.

Blue inks are one of the mainstays of the corporate environment, and Midnight would fit in quite nicely. It's a dark blue that's easy to read on both ivory and white paper, and isn't bright enough to offend anyone's sensibilities. It is also a great choice for personal correspondence, having a nice, warm, rich tone. Finally, it's also a great candidate for calligraphy and other artistic endeavors – that mysterious red aura that it develops adds an unexpected depth of character to the work.

Diamine Midnight doesn't quite knock Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng out of the top spot on my list of blue inks, but I think it easily took second. If you like dark blue inks, this is an easy choice to add to your collection. Now I just have to buy an 80ml bottle to replace the sample I was sent in order to make sure I've got enough on hand to last a long time.

Review materials: For the wide strokes, I used two calligraphy pens: Pilot Parallel 6.0mm and 3.8mm pens. For the "by comparison" line, I used a Noodler's Creaper Flex Nib pen. All three have steel nibs. For the fine strokes, I used a Lamy EF steel nib on a Lamy Safari. The paper is Rhodia 80g.

Note on this review: a sample of this ink was provided for review purposes by Diamine Ink.
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#2 Halden

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 13:35

Thanks for another great review. Your penmanship is always a delight to look at and this ink looks like one I will try out.
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#3 jandrese

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 15:42

Thanks for the good review. I love this ink. Diamine has an unusually high percentage of winners, especially in the new lineup.

#4 jgrasty

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 16:28

Great review! :notworthy1:

I like this ink a lot and it is great, really great, on high quality paper. The cheap stuff, not so much. Tends to bleed a little. The only downside to this ink is it takes a lot of flushes to get it out of a pen.
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#5 John Cullen

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 17:03

The flow was so heavy I could not use this ink. I wonder if it was just the bottle I had? When I went to read this review I expected to find a comment saying the flow was heavy. Maybe I got a bad bottle?

#6 IWantThat

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 17:09

CarpeDavid, you make every ink look good! The ink companies should hire you for their promotions :) I've had my eye on this ink for a while; this review just cemented my desires. Time to place that order!
Tamara

#7 oldstoat

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 17:32

It's now my standard dark blue ink , for use when I need or want something serious but not dull. Just love it!
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#8 LuckyDog10

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 17:43

You made one of my favorite inks look even better. I just might print, frame and hang that review. :notworthy1:

Thanks for sharing!
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#9 mholve

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 17:45

CarpeDavid, you make every ink look good!

I was JUST thinking that... The little doodles are just icing... :thumbup:

#10 carpedavid

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 18:03

The flow was so heavy I could not use this ink. I wonder if it was just the bottle I had? When I went to read this review I expected to find a comment saying the flow was heavy. Maybe I got a bad bottle?


Hi John,

Interesting observation. Can I ask what pen you tried it with? If I've got something similar, I'll go back and check it out.

Thanks!
Dave
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#11 yorkymama

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 21:12

Bravo! Standing ovation!

What a joy to look at.

carpedavid, you are awesome and the ink ain't bad either :o)

Love your illustrations! :happyberet:



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#12 karinh

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 23:10

Gorgeous review, as usual. :notworthy1:

Nice ink too.
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#13 John Cullen

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 23:58

Hi David

First of all, I should have started my first post with a thank you for the review. Personally, I love reading reviews and looking at the writing samples. You did a great job.

Looking back through the thread now I realize my post kind of hits a sour note. I did not intend it that way. I guess I was sort of mumbling out loud.

Anyway, I do indeed like the color and your writing makes it look great. I can not remember what pen it was I was using, something with a Fine point like a Platinum President or maybe even my Fine point TWSBI. The midnight ink really just seemed to put out a really wide line compared to what I expected from the nib.

I still have my bottle and will have to return to it and do a little experimentation on my own. Maybe I had not dried the pens well and there was water left in from the last fill.

John

#14 reprieve

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 00:25

Midnight is one of my favorites. You are right about the depth of the ink--it is a lovely, complex shade, and aptly named! I too overlooked its wonderful color at first; it took me a while to fall in love with it, but when I did, Midnight became my go-to dark blue ink. I find it to be extremely well-behaved: no feathering, no bleed-through, reasonable drying time, easy to flush, non-staining. As far as flow goes, I've gone through three different bottles thus far and have had no issues. I would describe it as a wet ink--it glides over the paper, smoothens a toothy nib, shades well, but does not widen the line noticeably.

#15 carpedavid

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 00:41

Looking back through the thread now I realize my post kind of hits a sour note. I did not intend it that way. I guess I was sort of mumbling out loud.


Oh, no offense taken at all - I'm genuinely curious. I've been happy with the performance of Diamine, in general, so it would be interesting to know if there is some aspect I've overlooked. By all means, let us know your impressions once you've revisited the ink.

Thanks!
Dave
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#16 pmsalty

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:37

Beautiful review! :thumbup: Sold me!
PMS
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#17 matveik

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:15

Love the review. I think I'll be getting this ink next!

#18 Mox

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:27

I am really impressed that you are passionate about these inks. The amount of time you spend writing these reviews and the meticulousness is very inspiring. Keep it up.

#19 Rhincodon

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:27

I want to buy all the inks you review, because your calligraphy makes them look so gorgeous! That said, thank you for your review; I must try Diamine out sometime.
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#20 alexander_k

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:56

It seems a common experience: Midnight is too subtle to impress at first sight but it's a different thing when you have filled a couple of pages. I'm very impressed by how well-behaved it is. Pity about the lack of water resistance. Great review, David. Good point about the 30 ml bottle neck.

#21 corniche

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:51

Greetings CarpeDavid,

Yes, this is a beautiful color; I almost went with it as my signature color for signatures, but at the last minute, opted for Diamine Twilight, (a review of which by me is forthcoming), because I thought the latter had a touch more dimension. Nice review all the same.

All the best,

Sean :)

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