Problem in India with starting with fountain.
I won't tell why one should try and use fountain pens, there are enough content on this point. I am assuming one knows why you want to start and are on very tight budget and can't really afford the starter pens (as was in my case) cos lets be honest in India a student is dependent on family and he can't really say that I want 2000 Rs for pen and Ink. No family I know will allow this. I mean one can get 3 Rs dot pen and 5 Rs gel pen, who in sane mind will allow their kid to get something expensive which might be lost, broken or worst stolen on day 1 of school. Just see the number gap one can get literally 1000 dot pens for 1 Metropolitan and 1 bottle of Lamy Ink. Then is the famous reputation of leaky piles. ( false one but still exists).
My past experience.
My starting with fountains began with goal of improving my non-legible writing to at least legible one. Fountain pens do help in improving writing and if you have any goal of trying to improve it do try them. Back in the day fountains were readily available for cheap 30 to 40 Rs which were worst at best they leaked all over, concept of convertor and cartridge was non existing and nib width and feed was kinder joy surprise.
And this is what makes the reputation of fountain pens as leaky mess which should not be used and I too started to think the same. Until a shopkeeper gave me Camlin trinity and said that if this leaks he will change it for free. The pen then was 70 Rs and this was the turning point. Trinity never leaked and I used Trinity and for next 5 years eventually switching to dot for various reasons for next 5 or so years. Ink pens never really got out of my life though and was always used from time to time until in my university where I shifted to full time fountain and ditched dots. mainly cos I felt my writing degrading to bad and more flexibility with work which allowed me to use the pens to full. This was also time when I was exposed to "starter pens" namely Metropolitan and Lamy safari. they were big investments for me but I decided to go ahead and take the plunge and it was totally worth plunge.
Main point of cheap fountains and which to choose and which to avoid and why.
First a disclaimer I have no Intention of hurting any brand or maker I am just writing my personal experience with the pens I used.
Now lets divide Budgets-
Cheapest I can suggest-
Pen- Camlin Trinity ( Price around 100 Rs)/ Camlin Trinity Elegante (Rs 200 around).This is the cheapest I can suggest to anyone with a fact that it won't have the issues of leaks and will have solid body and OK to good flow. My first trinity is still with me abid with broken nib. Then pen is plastic and metal at cap. The pen is small in hand and very narrow and will be perfect for kids and people with small fingers.
Trinity Elegante is larger pen with better look and finish and comes in larger nib size then tiny nib of Trinity. This also writes a bit better. Both have convertor with them.
Ink- Parker quink (around 60-80 Rs) / camlin ink there is issue with both of them. Last time I used parker it was too light and got lighter still with time. My 5 year old writings are now quite faded. Not disappeared but fading is there. Camlin on other hand has issue of not being available everywhere and I can't say much about fading as I did not have much experience with it.
total cost 180-300.
what to avoid here
My experience with Pierre Cardin's cheapest fountain of 100Rs has been worst of all. The nib was good and flow was nice with fine lines but body was so flimsy that it actually broke when I tried to remove the snap cap which it comes with....how can I write with a pen which breaks in process of removing the cap. 2nd one did survive the opening of cap (wow what a criteria) but broke eventually and I could bend the body with 2 fingers. So no this is no from me.
Other one is classmate octane fountain pen. As good is octane gel and dot the Rs 40 octane is very poor flow pen with paper scratching action. Don't go for this.
3rd Parker Beta, again too scratchy on paper to point one can hear it scratching on paper.
3rd are assortment of who knows what pens of 20 to 50 Rs. got too tired of them in my starting days to ever look at them.
for those with a bit budget (under 1000Rs)
Pens- Parker Vector GT ( around 400Rs) / Parker Frontier (around 500 Rs) and Kanwrite Desire (around Rs 700) Parker's have same same story as camlin here Vector GT is smaller pen best for small hands and comes with tiny nib while Frontier is larger pen with larger nib size. Both will come with convertor. This will be first proper smooth fountain pen experience and these both don't scratch or give much feedback. they will be good for anyone.
Kanwrite is different cup of tea and is proper fountain pen and is all a fountain should. The pen will come with convertor and separate nib sizes of #5 and #6 with options of width. These were absent until now you were stuck with whatever nib you have but here is where things will change. the pen is not without flaws abid need for silicon grease if one wants to convert eyedropper and even for feed when pre coated grease is over else it will leak from convertor. (at least in my case it did). Still this is best I can say to start with fountains under 1000Rs.
others one can look at ---
ASA Pens have great reputation for making good pens. Never got to try one personally but rarely have I seen bad writing experience (this matters most to me) from anyone who has used them. (will get myself a ebonite pen from them after this lockdown, my First ebonite).
Jinhao personally never got to try one so can't say but again they have good reputation for the price point.
Ink- Waterman serenity blue (around 450 Rs) this is non-waterproof ink but will work perfectly with any pen and will not bleed or feather on any paper ( never tested on that brown rough registers) and is easy to clean both on cloths and in pens ( you will understand this properties worth after ruining a couple of your shirts).
this is my first attempt here so I hope this helps to those who are struggling with starting and are wondering how to get 2000Rs for starting the hobby or as normal pens. pls put any questions You have I will answer them to best of my ability and will try my best to push you in this rabbit hole. PS do point things that I missed or your own experiences would love to hear them.