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Lamy Safari, Pilot Prera Comparison


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63 replies to this topic

#1 cake2le

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 00:45

This is going to be a quick review comparing the Pilot Prera and Lamy Safari. I was initially interested in both pens, but was unsure of which to buy. I ended up with both eventually, so maybe this can assist someone else looking for an entry level pen.


First off, I really like both pens. They both write exceptionally well and each have their pro's and cons. I'll go categorically, describing each as I go.

Appearance:


I think both pens have a nice visual appeal; however, this category is the most subjective so I think I'll just a picture do the talking :)

Photo Nov 08, 18 51 08.jpg

Photo Nov 08, 19 15 02.jpg


I must say, however, I am slightly partial to the Prera's looks. It definitely looks like a classier piece.


Construction:


Both Prera and Safari feel solid at first, unfortunately I have had issues with the build quality of the Safari. I've owned two Safari's and both have developed cracks around the base of the threads on the grip section. It eventually leads to pen cracking in half (It happened in my pocket, thankfully the converter didn't fall out). I don't think I was particularly rough with either of my Safaris, so I think it's probably a design flaw. I usually carry my pens in my side pocket. Apparently the stress is too much for the Safari. I think this is an important point since almost every other review of the Safari can't stop praising it's rock solid construction. I think if you were to always carry it in a case or use as a desk pen, I'm sure the safari would hold up fine. The Prera, on the other hand, seems to have a more sturdy design and I haven't had any issues yet. If you want a pocket pen, I would definitely go with the Prera.

Photo Nov 08, 18 52 36.jpg




Writing:


Both pens write very nicely. The nibs on both get the job done, but I must say I enjoy the Safari nib a little better. The Safari F nib is not quite as smooth as the Prera's M nib, however it seems to have a little more of an accent on it making writing look a little more interesting.

Photo Nov 08, 19 18 58.jpg

(Sorry the writing sample isn't the best. I used cheap paper and the thicker nibs bleed a lot.)

I have heard on other reviews that the Pilot M nib is almost as thin as a Lamy EF. This is definitely not the case. As you can see from the writing sample, the Pilot M is almost as thick as a Lamy M. I hope in the future to acquire a Pilot F for comparative reasons.

Both pens write smoothly and continuously. Recently (as in today) my prera has started skipping a few times. I'm not sure if this is going to be a regular occurrence, but I suspect it might just need a good cleaning. Previously however, it has written flawlessly.

If you like a smooth writer, I would recommend the Prera. If you want a little bit more grip and some line accent, I would try the Safari.

Maintenance:


I have to say that the Prera is a joy to clean. The nib and whole feed slide right out of the pen. I can have the thing cleaned, dried, and reined in under 5 min. The Safari on the other hand is a downright pain to clean. Running water through it takes forever to get all the ink out... actually, it's impossible to get all the ink out. You can flush it for an hour and colored ink will still come out. Then you have to wait for it to dry. If you want something quick and easy to take care of go with the Prera

Comfort:

The Safari definitely wins in this category. The larger size coupled with the angular grip make long term writing much more pleasant. The prera is just a little too small and not quite as comfortable, but overall it's not that unpleasant. The Safari is just a little better in my opinion.

Both Pens can be used posted or unposted, however, I feel as though the weigh distribution of the Prera is better posted. On the flip side, I feel like the Safari becomes too top heavy when posted.


Conclusion:

I think both pens are terrific and you wouldn't go wrong with either one. If you want something to carry around every day for quick notes and doodles, I would go with the Prera. If you want a pen for writing long notes at home, I would choose the Safari

This is my first review, so I probably made lots of mistakes or left out important information. Let me know what can be improved. Thanks.

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#2 pmsalty

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 00:56

Nice first review. Good use of photos.
Thanks,

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#3 th3

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:45

Very good comparison and review. The pictures really bought out the differences.

#4 Horseknitter

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:58

I have 1 Safari and 2 All Stars (metal Safaris) and have debated whether to try the Prera. Your pictures were helpful. However, I was most helped by your drawing distinctions between the fine points of each. Your review was factual and fair and when you offered an opinion you qualified it as such. Great review skills for a beginner. Keep those reviews coming!

#5 rdh

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:14

Great picturesPosted Image. I think that the Lamy is really a very nice school pen and compares well with the Pelikano. The Prera, on the other hand, is more like the Pelikan M200 in size, balance, and looks. You might also try the con20 converter for the Prera. Although you can't see the ink level, it is much easier to fill and even easier to clean than the con50 piston converter.

Dave

#6 cake2le

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 03:47

Thanks for all the positive comments guys! I'll have to go buy more fountain pens to review now :D. I always need excuses to buy more pens.

Dave, I was thinking about getting a converter for the Prera. When I purchased it on Jetpens they were all sold out of all the Pilot converters. I've been refilling the Pilot standard cartridges with a 1 mL syringe I pilfered from my research lab. It actually works out pretty well and it's easier to clean than a converter. :D
I also like the look of the Pelikan M200. I'll have to check it out!

Horseknitter, I'm curious if you had any of the cracking problems with your Safari or Al Star. I was considering trying an Al Star because I thought the metal construction might hold up better... but then again, I am kind of a sucker for white things (if you didn't notice) and the Al Star didn't come in white. If you're looking for a new pen you should totally try the prera. After going through two Safari's myself, it was nice to try something different.

Edited by cake2le, 09 November 2011 - 03:55.


#7 rdh

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 04:01

A syringe works well to clean out a cartridge, but the Con20 is a squeeze converter and it also cleans out your nib and feed. That is harder and more time-consuming with a syringe. Of course, a good overnight soak will work well, too. I have seen the Con 20 for as little as 3-4 dollars. Buy one the next time you get ink to save on shipping and try it out.

Dave

#8 cake2le

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 04:29

A syringe works well to clean out a cartridge, but the Con20 is a squeeze converter and it also cleans out your nib and feed. That is harder and more time-consuming with a syringe. Of course, a good overnight soak will work well, too. I have seen the Con 20 for as little as 3-4 dollars. Buy one the next time you get ink to save on shipping and try it out.

Dave


I'll probably get on eventually, but the beauty of the Prera is that the feed slides out so easily. You can rinse it directly it only takes about 30 seconds to have the whole thing completely flushed and reassembled. I'll post some pictures next time I clean it out. I think it's one of the main selling points for the Prera.

#9 Uncle Red

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 17:32

Nice review. BTW, do you take the nib off your Safari when you clean it?

#10 Snarf

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 19:05

I noticed for your writing samples that there was a good amount of feathering when writing with either pen, but more so with the prera (and that could be b/c it's a M). I know lamy's in general write a bit on the drier side. Could it be that the prera may look thicker because it pours ink out a little more heavily thus causing more feathering and making it look like a thicker line?

With regards to your comment about the lamy producing "some line accent" is that because there is more definition around the letters? Do you think a different ink/paper combo would change the results of your review?

BTW Great review! I was thinking of trying out the prera in the near future because of the points that you've mentioned :D

#11 PAKMAN

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 19:27

Good job on the review. The size comparison really helped as the Pilot is clearly too short for my hands.

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#12 cake2le

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 20:03

Uncle Red: I usually take the nib off of my safari when I clean it. I don't think the feed comes out as easily though when is why it takes a long time to flush.

Snarf: there was a fair amount of feathering. Mostly because I couldn't find any good paper. The j. Herbin bleu pervenche ink tends to flow quite freely also. However I have used other ink on other paper types and the results are consistent just a lot crisper for both pens. I'm hoping to pick up an f nib for the prera sometime soon. I'd like to know how that handles as well. As far as the accent is concerned, yes it is consistent with other paper and ink types. I think it just has something to do with the nib's shape. I was actually a little disappointed with how thick the pilot m nib was. I typically like a fine nib just because it's a little more versatile with reguards to the types of paper you can write on. Other people have indicated that the pilot nibs are super tiny but I think the m nib is pretty close to lamy sizes.

#13 USMCMom

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 20:29

I have 7 Safaris and a Vista ... also have a lime green Prera with a fine nib. Two of the Safari pens I have, I've had since last Christmas. The Prera's nib needs a talking to, as it's very dry regardless of the ink I use. I don't baby the Safari pens that I use often, but toss them in my purse, the center compartment of the car, just where ever. They have never been in a mobile pen pouch or case. The Safari pens are my grab 'em and go. None have had cracks anywhere, at least not so far. Cleaning them isn't a big deal for me, as I rinse out the converter, use a bulb syringe to flush out the nib section, give it a shake in a paper towel and let it dry, if I'm putting them away, which I seldom do, because they're re-inked and tossed back in to where ever I retrieved it (them) from.

I don't care for the Prera's size. A bit too small for my tastes. The fine nib is a pain in the nose. If I can't get it to behave itself, I think I'll end up trading it off for another Safari (red or white). Many people love their Preras.

Edited by USMCMom, 09 November 2011 - 20:30.


#14 watch_art

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:36

Great review and great pics. You've really got me lusting a white Safari. I've handled the Prera and the size and nib aren't for me - though it is a nice pen. I've never seen or read of cracks where you describe them though.

Arg! Must resist urge to buy white Safari!!

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#15 cake2le

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:39

Great review and great pics. You've really got me lusting a white Safari. I've handled the Prera and the size and nib aren't for me - though it is a nice pen. I've never seen or read of cracks where you describe them though.

Arg! Must resist urge to buy white Safari!!


Haha if you have a white phone, then a white f.pen is a must :P Does this tempt you any more? :D

Photo on 2011-11-8 at 7.15 PM #2.jpg

You should totally go for the white safari!

As far as the cracks go, I think it may have something to do with how I carry it in my side pocket. My suspicion is that stress placed on it when I walk, sit, or bend my legs must be putting pressure in the wrong area. I think the area of the pen wouldn't hurt to be a little more solid there, but if you're not going to be putting it in a place like that it's probably fine.

#16 cake2le

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:44

I have 7 Safaris and a Vista ... also have a lime green Prera with a fine nib. Two of the Safari pens I have, I've had since last Christmas. The Prera's nib needs a talking to, as it's very dry regardless of the ink I use. I don't baby the Safari pens that I use often, but toss them in my purse, the center compartment of the car, just where ever. They have never been in a mobile pen pouch or case. The Safari pens are my grab 'em and go. None have had cracks anywhere, at least not so far. Cleaning them isn't a big deal for me, as I rinse out the converter, use a bulb syringe to flush out the nib section, give it a shake in a paper towel and let it dry, if I'm putting them away, which I seldom do, because they're re-inked and tossed back in to where ever I retrieved it (them) from.

I don't care for the Prera's size. A bit too small for my tastes. The fine nib is a pain in the nose. If I can't get it to behave itself, I think I'll end up trading it off for another Safari (red or white). Many people love their Preras.



I'm sorry about your poor experience with the Prera. I wonder if you just got a bad nib somehow. What size nib do you have? As mentioned, I have an M nib and it seems to flow quite freely using either the bleu pervenche ink or the standard pilot cartridges. I did notice a little bit of reduced flow, however when I put in J.Herbin lie de thé. However, it still writes with plenty of ink.

You seem like quite the safari fan. I have to ask, are they all different colors?

#17 watch_art

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:54

Haha if you have a white phone, then a white f.pen is a must :P Does this tempt you any more? :D


:roflmho:
Well - no I don't have a white cell phone. I have to admit --- I don't have ANY cell phone. I don't carry one and I don't want one. How many 31 yr olds do you know who have no interest in being connected? :P


I still really want a white Safari though.

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#18 USMCMom

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:02

I have 7 Safaris and a Vista ... also have a lime green Prera with a fine nib. Two of the Safari pens I have, I've had since last Christmas. The Prera's nib needs a talking to, as it's very dry regardless of the ink I use. I don't baby the Safari pens that I use often, but toss them in my purse, the center compartment of the car, just where ever. They have never been in a mobile pen pouch or case. The Safari pens are my grab 'em and go. None have had cracks anywhere, at least not so far. Cleaning them isn't a big deal for me, as I rinse out the converter, use a bulb syringe to flush out the nib section, give it a shake in a paper towel and let it dry, if I'm putting them away, which I seldom do, because they're re-inked and tossed back in to where ever I retrieved it (them) from.

I don't care for the Prera's size. A bit too small for my tastes. The fine nib is a pain in the nose. If I can't get it to behave itself, I think I'll end up trading it off for another Safari (red or white). Many people love their Preras.



I'm sorry about your poor experience with the Prera. I wonder if you just got a bad nib somehow. What size nib do you have? As mentioned, I have an M nib and it seems to flow quite freely using either the bleu pervenche ink or the standard pilot cartridges. I did notice a little bit of reduced flow, however when I put in J.Herbin lie de thé. However, it still writes with plenty of ink.

You seem like quite the safari fan. I have to ask, are they all different colors?


The Prera I have has a fine nib and still has the tag on it. LOL

Yes, my Safaris are all different colors, except for one ... I have 2 of them. I have turned into a fan of the Safari pen. For the longest time, I didn't like them, thought they were ugly and too "modern" looking ... flat didn't want anything to do with a Safari. One of our members generously gifted my son with a black Safari last Christmas and when I saw it on the table, I figured I go on and try it, but knew I didn't want one of my own! Yeah, right ... I loved it!! LOL Bought each of my college age daughters one, hoping to draw them into the fountain pen life. Didn't happen, so good mother than I am, I took their Safaris in. The others, I bought.

#19 cake2le

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:22

USMCmom: I thought the same thing when I first saw the Safari! I thought it looked kind of clunky also. I first picked up a Lamy Joy because I liked the shape a lot. Unfortunately it really was a lot bigger than it looked in the picture and didn't really fit well in my pocket. I eventually picked up a safari because I wanted the same smooth writing without the large form factor. I think I've really warmed up to the looks. Don't worry about your daughters. I didn't get into fountain pens until I was halfway through college. Before that I always avoided them because they looked impractical. I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe there's still hope for your children :D

watch_art: I'm actually very impressed that you've managed to hold out this long without getting a cell phone. I wonder if being over connected can be a bad thing... I'll have to google that on my phone sometime :)

On another note, I'll add another writing sample to the review. The paper wasn't bleeding as bad this time and I ran out of ink in the prera so I switched to another color. Hope everyone enjoys.

EDIT: Apparently its impossible to edit the first post so here's the image:
IMG_6206.jpg

Edited by cake2le, 10 November 2011 - 04:29.


#20 Maximumbob

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 20:33

I like the review and the style it is written in, well done for a first review.

I suppose the only thing left out is the cost. In the UK the safari is £10-14 and the Pilot £55.

When you are as miserly as I am, I want some justification for spending that extra £40 on something other than a few bottles of nice red wine!






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