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Lamy Safari: Bargain Brilliance Or Ugly Utility


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#21 pencils+pens

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 14:29

I have a blue Safari and a Vista. I put off buying either one because of its almost cult-like status. I also wasn't keen on yet another pen with another proprietary cartridge.


I bit the bullet when ISellPens started selling the Safari and Vista with the converter included. So I got the blue Safari. Once I had it in my hands, I like it immediately. It is one of the pens that almost never comes out rotation. I also immediately ordered the Vista and got the same great result. I would probably buy more if I weren't looking at experimenting with other brands.

The blue Safari has a fine nib and the Vista has an XF nib.

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#22 Gris Nuage

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 14:44

I seem to have a worrying number of Vistas. All have been trouble free and continue to be the ideal pen to try out new inks.

They're light, nice to write with, easy to clean and they only look like themselves. A true classic.
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#23 akustyk

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 14:50

I have really enjoyed my Safaris, and have gone through a few nibs, just to hand-pick the perfect ones. Now, they write exactly the way I like and are ideal pens for note taking. My most favorite gray Safari is now gone, and I miss it. I lost it. I have EF nibs and M nibs, but prefer the EF because I can use them on cheap paper. They're smooth, with good flow. However, in my experience, they're not as easy to adjust as some other pens with more traditional nibs and feeds.

As far as their looks, well, it's a subjective thing, but they do seem a bit dated. It's a design unlike most other pens, and while it can be perceived as unique, it can also get dated more easily than a black, cigar-shaped pen with gold trim. I like them exactly as they are, though.

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#24 sadiemagic

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 15:11

I had four - my first one, in yellow with B nib, a blue with a B nib, a Vista with a B nib and the blue Al-Star. Lost the Vista last year somehow.

I don't know how I ended up with so many because in truth, I don't like the section. It is angled just a tad uncomfortably for me. OK to write with for a while, but not for a long meeting with lots of notes. But they write very well. I found I really dislike the aluminum Al-Star, though - hate the feel of it in my hand. Eventually I plan to post it for sale in the Classifieds.

I use the yellow and the blue ones primarily to try out ink samples and see if I like the color. After a few days, if I do, I either load the rest of the sample into another pen or order the ink and put the Lamy aside until next time I order ink samples.

Edited by sadiemagic, 02 February 2013 - 15:12.

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#25 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 15:16

I'll say this: I just got into FPs in December 2012, of course the first ones I heard about and got recommendations for were the Safari/ALstars and the TWSBIs. After just a quick look at the Lamy, I was very firmly in the "I do NOT like how that looks" camp. But from everyone I've talked to, they are very positive about the writing experience and value. Many cite the modern design or the reliability. One person in my pen posse group is VERY fond of hers, calling it one of the best designed/looking modern aesthetic pens around. Probably not for me though.


My first Safari was a lemon. Scratchy, miserly with ink. I might have been able to rescue it if I knew anything about nib tweaking and such, but that was pre-FPN. Too bad, because it was yellow with the black nib and clip. No, I didn't throw it out...gave it to someone who loved it.

Finally decided to give them a try again, and I am so glad. I have a blue, a red, a yellow, a charcoal italic, and three of the Limited Edition colors, in all nib sizes.

What I like about Safaris now is the colors. Would love finding a Savannah and a Terra-Cotta.

Yes, if someone doesn't like the appearance or section, these ain't fer them. ;)

#26 heymatthew

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 15:19

My first FP was a Lamy Vista. I arrived home one afternoon to discover that somewhere along my bike ride the cap came off and I ruined my favorite pair of jeans. I bought another to replace it. A white one. Lost that one in a house fire. Bought another one. Charcoal gray this time. I've managed to not lose that one and it's still one of my go-to pens for daily writing. I also have a Studio and an Al-Star in black and purple, respectively. A Lamy is a Lamy is a Lamy from the feed to the paper. The bodies differ significantly as do their features, but every time I put one of them to paper, I get a line. It's reliable. Predictable. Boring, even. But that's what I want in a daily writer.

Personally, I enjoy the look of the Lamy. The grip fits me well. Maybe because I'm used to them now. I think they're a great bang-for-buck. It's engineered plastic that won't break or bend or crack from normal daily use. I don't care that they use a proprietary cartridge because I use a converter anyway.

For you guys on here talking about selling yours, if you have a white or blue one, let me know. I'd be interested in it. Preferably an EF, but I'll take whatever as I've got a couple of extra F nibs around here somewhere. Just PM me.
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#27 Osquest

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 15:41

I have several AL-Stars, Safaris and a Vista and a mix of nibs I can swap around. The design is a personal thing. I liked it at one time (with the right color), but these days I'm neutral about the design. Maybe I've just seen it for so long it's become old. I think they're a good value, although these days there seems to be more competition in the price range. The grip works well for me. I also find them to be pretty durable so they're the pen bouncing around on my bag so sitting in my desk drawer at work.

#28 sumgaikid

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 15:46

Add me as one of those that like the Lamy Safari. It may have been designed
for schoolchildren,but I agree with the looks and the fact that it's a rugged
enough pen to be used as a daily writer. I have several(including a yellow one
from Sweden with a red clip)that I use from time to time. They may not look
as pretty as some others,but they do the job.



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#29 UK Mike

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 15:53

There is one other important thing going for Lamy - in the UK certainly - and that is availability.

As the Parker Vector and Frontier seem to have died now, if you go in to a High Street stationery chain store you may find that the Parkers all start close to the £20+ range these days so if you are keen to avoid the own-brand specials there isn't a lot of competition to the Lamys at their price point. Pilots, Platinums, Pelikanos and Schneiders are just not readily available in the UK High Street so Lamy Safari is the easy option.

RE. the cost of cartridges, once you have an interest in fountain pens (as opposed to just being a user), you soon relaise that you can get Lamy cartridges online for less than half the High Street prices or a converter to use bottled ink. There is no reason that running a Lamy Safari should cost any more than any other pen.

Edited by UK Mike, 02 February 2013 - 15:57.

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#30 GnosticMoron

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 16:21

I love my Safari. It's just a great little pen. In fact, just this week I ordered a few more nibs for it. Considering the price of the pen, converter, and the fact that you can pop on a new nib for $11, it's definitely in bargain territory.

I honestly wish I'd bought it in a different colour, but that's the only real appearance aspect I don't care for so much.

#31 wastelanded

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 16:30

I absolutely hated them, until I tried one. Now I have two Safaris, white and umbra, and an AL star in that colour that changes depending on the light, which is my everyday work pen.

Not the most elegant writing instrument out there, but they perform very well. The feed system is brilliant. If they only used standard cartridges they would be perfect. But the Lamy cartridges have reinforced openings so stand up well to lots of refilling with a syringe.
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#32 Hoovy

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 16:35

I really can't understand the fuss over the Safari. There's nothing wrong with the design, but for what's basically a good but undistinguished school pen, it's overpriced. If that's the benchmark in its class (rather than, say, the Parker Frontier or the Scheider Base, both of which can be had for the same or less money), then things aren't as they should be.
(And the damned thing uses somewhat overpriced custom cartridges, as well. Bleah.)

This, this, this.

I've always found it strange how so many people are enormous fans of the Safari aesthetic when it's designed as a student pen, and bright to the point of being garish.

I understand that it's inexpensive (compared with luxury pens), but for some reason it seems to never be compared to pens within its own class - perhaps because it doesn't look nearly as good anymore?

[Aside: By no means do I dislike the Safari as a pen; it's the sometimes-rabid fanbase and blind adoration that gets to me]

#33 mAnuscript69

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 18:50

The reason why I don't own a Vista is that when the pen is capped, the nib is obscured by the chrome inner cap. Something opaque would have to be fine but the large, chrome inner cap just spoils the 'flow' of the pen's aesthetics in my eyes. Also, the ink window is pretty redundant in a clear barrel; an eyedropper Vista would look pretty cool.

I have three Safaris and an extra 1.1mm stub and they all write okay, though a tad dry out of the box. These pens sure can take a beating though. I like their pen design but I'd choose a Pilot nib over a Lamy nib any day.

#34 frogbaby

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 19:02

when i first saw the safari, i thought it very ugly
but i grew to love the ultra modern look especially with the clip

in the end i prefer the weight of the al-star which is something like 2 grams heavier
it really does make a difference
i feel fortunate in this regard because if i really loved the safari, i would almost certainly be spending too much money trying to acquire every color ever made !

i think the safari is the best dollar-for-dollar fountain pen you can buy

#35 Avalonia

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 19:27

I like the Safari - so much that I own two and have a third in the mail. It's just a good all over pen. No, it's not the prettiest pen out there, but I like that it's durable and a good writer. I like the bright colours, but then, I tend to like obnoxious coloured pens anyway.

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#36 Avalonia

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 19:27

Double post. Sorry.

Edited by Avalonia, 02 February 2013 - 19:27.

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#37 brunico

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 19:28

The reason why I don't own a Vista is that when the pen is capped, the nib is obscured by the chrome inner cap. Something opaque would have to be fine but the large, chrome inner cap just spoils the 'flow' of the pen's aesthetics in my eyes. Also, the ink window is pretty redundant in a clear barrel; an eyedropper Vista would look pretty cool.


It has a transparent feed, though, unlike many demonstrators, so it's a shame they obscure the nib.

Some people have successfully turned their Vistas into eyedroppers by using the barrel of a rollerball, with or without sealing the end. Several threads: try this one for a start. I wish I'd attempted it myself. I've turned a Pilot Penmanship into an eyedropper, but I think the collector isn't as roomy as the Lamy, so it would start to blurt ink with the heat from my hand when it was about a third full. It did take about 4.5ml, though, and it's easy to fill it right up without regreasing the section threads simply by pulling out the nib and filling from a syringe.

#38 humsin

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 19:39

The Safari's not that cheap
The pen I write with, is the pen I use to sign my name.

#39 jacksterp

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:00

I think the Safaris, Al-Stars and Vista look terrific and write just as good as they look. With the addition of so many nibs to choose from and their rugged durability, it's hard to go wrong.

Sure they are not for everybody, but what is?

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#40 Harlequin

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:09

Just as an FYI for those who may not know. It may be true that Lamy may be a well known 'school pen' in Europe (and Germany specifically) and looked at as such, but you have to understand- the US hasn't had a tradition of "school pens" in the last 60 years at least, I'm not sure before that. I am betting Canada didn't either, but someone from Canada would need to weigh in on that.






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