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Lamy Safari Black With Black Nib (medium)
Posted 23 May 2010 - 17:41
Cost was £15 so I've scored based on the price I paid:
Appearance & Design - 7/10
Very nice, ultra modern (slightly industrial?) design. Having a black nib is unusual enough, combine that with a a deep charcoal/black body and it looks like some kind of stealth pen. However, on closer inspection it does looks like cheap plastic (which it is) and it weighs next to nothing (see later) - in short, looks almost disposable and cheap at times so has to drop a few marks.
Construction & Quality - 8/10
Fit and finish is good. Again, a pity it's not a metal / lacquered barrel but really it's not supposed to be. For what you have, though, it's a great (iconic) design and that unusual hook design really makes it stand out. The lid closes with a positive click and everything screws together well with a decent finish. I also like the way there is a small window allowing you to see how much ink you have left at a glance, nice touch. It's a very smart looking pen.
The nib-section has 2 flat parts/faces to it and these allow a nice grip for your fingers when writing. Of course, it really only allows for one position so those of you who have more unusual grip styles or are left handed may feel differently.
Size & Weight - 3/10
This pen is so light it's almost insubstantial. Weighing it brings up 10g unposted and 17g posted. There are insects in my garden heavier than that! Size wise it's 14cm with cap on, 16.6cm posted and 13cm unposted. It fits comfortably into a shirt pocket and is a nice enough size to hold comfortably too. However, it's too light imo (would've preferred it to be slightly heavier).
Nib & Performance - 6/10
As mentioned above, the black nib complements the charcoal barrel really well……but how does it perform? Firstly, I prefer fine nibs but unfortunately I have VERY limited pen shops near where I live so I only had the option of Medium or Medium (and at a push, I could special order some Medium in). As it is meant just for work, I though I'd go with Medium and see. The nib itself is quite inflexible but this does allow you to push hard into the paper (so I should be able to fill out "inked" papers well).
The one negative is that I find it is quite scratchy. . . but maybe that's because I'm comparing it to my E-Motion which is VERY smooth. I have cleaned out the nib and the scratchiness is still evident at times so it doesn't score brilliantly here (but then again, for work it will do it's job fine). I'm hoping things will improve with time (hopefully the nib surface will even out as I write with it more).
There's also a bit of skipping, but this may just be because it's newly inked (although an hour of writing still produces very few skips now and then, especially from starting to write).
Line size whilst being hold normally (not too hard, not too light) is 0.55mm for this medium nib.
Notice the nib creep with this in my picture above. I have zero nib creep in my Faber-Castell, but then again, it's not too bad and not a big issue in everyday use (although it's difficult to see in the piccie what with it being black ink on a black nib in a black pen).
Overall, I would say this is a nice "slightly above average" nib with the added affect of being quite sturdy.
Filling System & Maintenance - 8/10
Again, I have no real options here other than to use cartridges. I was considering buying the Parker "plunger" convertor which was available for £3, but instead (because I wasn't sure if it would fit or not) opted for using a needle & syringe (plentifully available at work) to refill using my Diamine Onyx Black. So first off, out went the royal blue down the sink, followed by wash outs with water, followed by drying and then refilling via syringe with the black. It was all very easy and mess-free.
From memory the Lamy T10 cartridges take about 1.1ml of ink (quite a bit and I didn't want to overfill).
Once the cartridge goes into the pen, screwing the barrel on appears to "tighten" the plastic around the cartridge, thus gripping it more securely.
It will last me a couple of days at least.
Cost & Value - 9/10
I know I have pointed out some negatives above, but bear in mind I only paid £15 for it (at current May 2010 rates, that's €17.25 or $21.69 (US)). Considering that this is a well made and sturdy pen that does it's job well for that price, I think it's good value for money. It drops a mark as there are equally as nice pens available (e.g. lacquered-barrel, metal Parkers) for £10 at the moment, so I think it could be cheaper still.
Overall Conclusion - 7/10
A great little pen for very little outlay. I bought it for work and it's so far proved sturdy enough. It's also cheap and popular enough that if I do drop it, replacements will be easy to come by. I recommend it.
Posted 24 May 2010 - 05:01
both my safaries (charcoal and vista) now have 1.1 and 1.5 nibs and i like these better.
Posted 24 May 2010 - 05:51
I have a lamy vista, and find the nib to be pretty smooth, but way too thick (it's a medium).
It's not as smooth as my pelikan pelikano though (another student pen).
Posted 25 May 2010 - 18:56
I was going to add an adddendum in that the skipping was pretty terrible tbh. I eventually just put it in an ultrasonic cleaner for 10-20min and then reassembled. Voila - MUCH better .
Funnily enough, the same went for my other pen too ("out of the box" skipped a bit but everything improved once cleaned) which makes me think "why do the pens need cleaning fresh from the factory?".
Anyhow, it's a good little writer and, best of all, if I drop it, I can get spare nibs in the UK for about £4.60 (which, if I need, I'll also go for an F I think).
Posted 30 May 2010 - 17:10
Appearance & Design - 7/10
Score stays the same as I still think it's a nice design that looks good.
Construction & Quality - 8/10
It may feel "plasticky" but it's a still well made and able to withstand drops and knocks (score stays the same).
Size & Weight - 3/10
Still too light for my tastes...
Nib & Performance - 4/10 (-2)
This is where marks are dropped I'm afraid. After another day, guess what, the skips returned with a vengeance. Maybe it's the manufacturing of this particular nib, but not a day went by without problems writing consistently. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I have NEVER had a nib this bad. Judging by the high praise (and cheap availability) of Lamy nibs from here, I think it may just be the nib I had on it's own (a manufacturing defect on this batch?) and am prepared to give the Z50 nib another chance (hence, my replacement is another Lamy). However, I do think it's unreasonable to have a pen that requires cleaning EVERY DAY in order to prevent skipping for about 3-4hours or so .
Filling System & Maintenance - 6/10 (-1)
Needed to clean it out far too often to allow it to keep the same marks re:maintenance.
Cost & Value - 8/10 (-1)
Drops a point again because it's far less vfm in hindsight what with the issues I've had with it.
Overall Conclusion - 6/10 (-1)
Still a nice pen for very little outlay which has proved sturdy enough for work use.....but in hindsight I had too many issues with the nib especially that meant it has to drop a mark. On the plus side, I think it may have been a defect in maybe my nib alone (batch issue?) so am going to give Lamy another go. I have ordered a Nexx M (with F nib) as a replacement and will review it when I can .
Edited by Gaffer, 30 May 2010 - 17:10.