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Pilot Capless Decimo Ef Violet (Lavender)


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9 replies to this topic

#1 XiaoMG

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:46

I'm a big fan overall of the Capless Decimo line by Pilot. One of them in particular has amazed me with its incredible smoothness and nice cushy feeling on the paper, while my others are very nearly as good, and equally pleasant to hold and use. Not long ago, I discovered that there are a few new colors in the Decimo lineup in 2012, being Lavender Violet, Red, and Black. At first, I was almost 100% sure I was going to go with the red or black, but then I didn't feel really strongly attracted to the red/silver combo, and the black just didn't really sing to me in the way the pearl white and gray did...so it was the lavender violet this time. I also noticed they were being offered with extra fine nibs in addition to the fines and mediums we've all grown to love. I figured I had to give it a try.

Appearance & Design: 8
It's a Capless Decimo, which means it looks like any other Capless Decimo you're familiar with. It comes in a plastic bag in a hinged plastic box, which is essentially what all the standard Pilot range come in. I think the pen is very pleasant and attractive for what it is, but doesn't really inspire awe with its design. The finish has a very fine pearly or glittery look not dissimilar to some nail polishes. It doesn't beat you in the face and in fact is something you tend to sit and stare at for a while, just admiring the execution. The clip design is not bad, but sort of breaks the flow of the rest of the pen. The Capless nibs, in my opinion, are the biggest weakness in the appearance of the pen.

The lavender violet isn't really my cup of tea under normal circumstances, but I find it matches the silver/rhodium/chrome/whatever furniture very well.

Posted Image

Construction & Quality: 9
I've always liked the fit and finish of the Capless models, and this one is no exception. I would give it a 10, but I've never really loved the way the clip is attached, though I have never encountered a problem with it. The click mechanism, for what it's worth, is well-executed and doesn't feel cheap or janky at all. For those unfamiliar with Pilot Capless fountain pens, the nib retracts into the body, and a door closes over the nib to protect it and keep it from drying out. I find that this works well and does not feel or look nearly as gimmicky as it initially sounds.

Weight & Dimensions: 10
I like a little density to my pens, though I do not like them to feel heavy. The Decimo is not a bulky pen and is not extremely heavy, though it has just the right amount of heft to tell someone that it's a nice pen, and it is nice and stable in the hand when writing. If you like featherweights like the 78G, this may not be for you, but it's much lighter than the standard Capless, without losing any of the "quality" feel. Some find the clip to be a nuisance, while others find it to be harmless or even helpful in the same way the triangular grip of some pens is helpful. I find it ever-so-slightly positive for my grip style, but if you have an unorthodox way of holding the pen, you might want to give it a try before you commit.

Nib & Performance: 9
I originally was turned off by Capless Decimo pens because I thought the click mechanism was just a gimmick. I tried one in a pen store, and I completely changed my mind. Not because of the click, which I really don't care that much about. I fell in love with the Decimo for the nib. Since then, I've experienced a few different Capless nibs, and my first still remains my favorite for its extreme smoothness.

The EF nib of the new Decimo is quite a bit finer than the F model. The tines are aligned pretty well and are pretty symmetrical...very normal in my experience with Japanese fines. I've had very good overall luck with Japanese fine points, and hesitate to ever get a German EF nib again, though I'm sure good ones are out there somewhere.

How fine is it? Well here's a photo with the EF on the left and the F on the right:

Posted Image

The line it puts down is comparable to the line that I get from the Pilot Penmanship EF nib in my 78G Sunagami. It is slightly dry and can really put down a spiderweb. No picture of that yet, but perhaps I'll add one later. The nib is smooth for its size; while it does not float over the paper as easily as my favorite F nib does, it is not scratchy or catchy at all. It is what one would expect from a quality Pilot EF nib...crisp, smooth, with a tiny bit of feedback. It is possible that with some use the nib will break in a bit, widening very slightly and becoming smoother. I have only tried Sailor Kiwaguro in it so far, and I may try an Iroshizuku soon if I have a chance.

Filling System & Maintenance: 7
Came to me with an empty cartridge (and the metal cover for it) as well as a CON-50 converter. The CON-50 and CON-20 are pretty weak in terms of ink capacity, and they are one of the biggest flaws in an otherwise very nice pen. I wonder how much ink this EF nib could possibly go through in a day, but some people like having 1ml or more, which requires either a syringe with cartridges (my preference, normally), or a CON-70 which of course does not fit in the Capless models. I filled mine with the CON-70 and it's no big deal for me really, but I will likely later switch to refilled cartridges, as that gives me a much better look at ink levels without unplugging a converter (the CON-50 doesn't give you much of a window when installed in the Capless).

Cost & Value: 8
I got this from a shop here in Taiwan for 3900NT Dollars (just over 132 USD at time of writing). It is not a cheap pen, especially for those just starting down the road in fountain pens, but they really are great pens. I hear lots of people talk about how great it is to use one-handed or how convenient or quick it is, and I just don't really see myself buying this pen for that reason. The nibs are excellent to downright fantastic at times regardless of deployment method, and I consider these among my best pens.

Conclusion: 8ish
The 2012 colors of the Capless Decimo may include something that speaks to you, or it may not. Though I like it, I'm not sure the lavender violet is as awesome as the white and gray or perhaps the blue, and I wasn't really into the red or black, despite normally loving those options. The EF nib is truly fine, and is something that will not appeal to people who are used to "Western" EFs or broader. If you've tried a Capless but didn't really like the bulk of it, the Decimo is a fabulous alternative. If you are into Japanese fine nibs or gel pens (where 0.5mm is downright obese) and want something that really lays down a crisp fine line, this will do it and will do it very well, from my limited experience with it. That super-fine nib may also help circumnavigate the traditional weakness of the VP/Capless series, which is the low capacity of the default converters. All in all, I think it's great pen, and well worth the money I paid for it.

Hope this has been helpful! Sorry about the relative lack of pics and the quality of the provided ones so far.

Edited by XiaoMG, 09 March 2012 - 08:14.

Robert.

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#2 Pen Is Mightier

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:53

Nice review, and great find on the price too!
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#3 jde

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 15:24

Thanks for posting!

What you are calling "Lavender," I saw listed as "Violet." Whatever its called, I love this color, and this will be my first Decimo! It will be here whenever it makes its way from Japan to the US. Ordered an F.


I was very happy to see new colors show up for 2012. Finally there was one I really wanted! Actually any of the four colors I would have been happy with: black, red, light blue, and the Violet.

This is the first time I've noticed that there is an EF option for these pens. Does anyone know if that's a new nib offering or has the EF always been available in Japan?

Cheers.
 
...writing only requires focus, and something to write on. —John August
...and a pen that's comfortable in the hand.—moi

#4 XiaoMG

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 15:51

Thanks for posting!

What you are calling "Lavender," I saw listed as "Violet." Whatever its called, I love this color, and this will be my first Decimo! It will be here whenever it makes its way from Japan to the US. Ordered an F.


I was very happy to see new colors show up for 2012. Finally there was one I really wanted! Actually any of the four colors I would have been happy with: black, red, light blue, and the Violet.

This is the first time I've noticed that there is an EF option for these pens. Does anyone know if that's a new nib offering or has the EF always been available in Japan?

Cheers.

Thanks for this. I did not see any name for the color, so I just went with my eyes which suggested lavender. It is a very light violet, but has just enough saturation to prevent it from being uninteresting.

I think the EFs are a pretty recent thing, though I could be wrong. I have never seen nor read about an EF Capless before these ones appeared. If I had to choose one, I'd go with the fine and not the extra fine, which is strange since normally I love extra fines. However, that soft feeling of using the 18k Decimo nibs just seems a little wasted on that fine a line. I somewhat prefer the nail-like steel EF that I plugged into my 78G "sunagami edition", though I think as the Decimo wears in and gets a bit wetter, I'll enjoy it more. It's a good nib...much better than many of my pens that aren't nearly as fine.


Congratulations on your purchase. Hope you enjoy your first Decimo!
Robert.

#5 inky

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:23

Dang it, now I gotta have one of those. Very nice review, thanks.
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#6 jde

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 16:10

Congratulations on your purchase. Hope you enjoy your first Decimo!


Thanks! I've wanted one since the first time I tried a VP. Loved the nib but the pen was way too heavy.
So: yay!



 
...writing only requires focus, and something to write on. —John August
...and a pen that's comfortable in the hand.—moi

#7 trhall

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 22:36

Yeah! Got a black version of this. It's much lighter (and narrower) than my Vanishing Point. Love it!

#8 terminal

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 22:43

This is a great review.

What did you think of the line thickness variation? Sounds like there's not a lot?

Does anyone have exp ordering one online? A suggested retailer perhaps?
"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#9 Dave P

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 02:10

Thanks for the great review. The Decimo was my first serious (several followed) fountain pen; I have the fine nib gray gray version. The retractable function is a great feature, but the nib is the reason I still reach for it. Have it filled with Noodler's Antietam.

Agree that it has good heft and balance and also have no issues with the clip while in use; on the contrary, the clip seems to add a little substance to the barrel section. The edge of my index finger and thumb make light contact with the edge of the clip; promotes a lighter grip on the pen.

Funny; I read your review and just had to pick mine up and write a few lines.

Does anyone have exp ordering one online? A suggested retailer perhaps?

Ordered my Decimo from JetPens. Speedy shipping; good customer service. Good online experience.

ETA - It is my understanding that not all VP nibs will do this, but I can turn the pen nib down and get an even finer spiderweb-fine line that is still wet and smooth. Also meant to note that my nib was adjusted for flow by Richard Binder; it is even more a joy to use.

Edited by Dave P, 25 March 2012 - 03:24.


#10 gauravinsan

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 19:41

i have a great grey decimo,yay






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