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Another Lamy Safari review


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16 replies to this topic

#1 holgalee

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 09:54

This is exactly what the forum does not need: another review of the Lamy Safari. But I like the pen a lot so I thought I should try my hand at writing my first review. I've posted the same thing on my blog except for the last line, which is an 'ad' for FPN: http://toyingwithlig...-of-the-safari/.

The Lamy Safari is a great pen.



Now, I'm usually picky about my adjectives. "Nice" is taboo as it's too bland to mean anything, while "great" is just as vague while promising too much. But that's precisely what the Lamy Safari is to me. Excellent in an almost all-encompassing way that makes it challenging for me to pinpoint exactly why I like the pen!

The first thing you'll notice about the pen is the range of colours it comes in, many of them eye-catching (or eye-wrenching, depending on your taste) and some in limited edition (produced for that year only), such as the lime green. If you don't want to look like an adult toying with a kid's pen or an in-your-face upstart who may threaten the very foundation of your organisation, go for staid colours such as black or grey.

The next thing you'll notice about the pen is how lightweight it is compared to some of the juggernauts masquerading as pens. This makes the Safari highly suitable for extensive writing, unless you're the type who happens to like heavy pens. At 13.1 cm from the nib to end of the barrel, it is long enough to be used with the cap mounted at the end of the barrel (also known as "posted"). It feels a little top heavy for me when posted, so I don't. The pen is made of ABS plastic, and I keep reading that this makes the pen very durable and practically "indestructible," which is probably part truth and part urban legend. Well, I can't vouch for that yet because I take good care of my things!

The Safari has two windows in the barrel for you to monitor the amount of ink. For the new fountain pen user, this helpful feature reduces the chances of you being caught with a pen that leaves behind a trail of anemic ink before stopping abruptly. The Safari accepts both Lamy cartridges and converters. In Singapore, when you purchase the Safari, it comes with a free cartridge and converter. Cartridges are more convenient to use but also more expensive and less environmentally friendly. Converters allow experimentation with different ink brands and colours, and you'll soon discover the strange and uneasy chemistry that exists between nibs, inks and papers.

A cut-out area indicates where the fingers are supposed to go. Fountain pen nibs have to be held at a certain angle relative to the paper, before they will write. If you've been weaned on ball or gel pens, you may be turning the fountain pen while writing without being aware! The Safari's grip ensures that the nib makes proper contact with the paper. That said, if you do turn the pen a little bit while writing, it will still lay a line. I've used many fountain pens that are less forgiving; you need to find the nib's sweet spot before it writes. Some people find the grip annoying but I consider it another indication of the pen's good design.

So what does the nib look like? It's shockingly utilitarian, more like a piece of steel hammered into shape. It lacks the engraved curly-whirly lines flaunted by many fountain pens, even some that are cheaper than the Safari. The nibs come in two colours, either black or silver, to match the colour of the clips. They are interchangeable and inexpensive, between S$10-S$15 (in Singapore, not sure about US prices) depending on where you get them from. Available nibs include extra fine (EF), fine (F), medium (M), bold (B) and left handed (LH). Changing the nibs is easy and all you need is a piece of tape, your fingers, a little force and some commonsense, as can be seen here. I have the EF and F nibs, and prefer to use the EF on thin paper such as lecture pads, to minimise feathering. The EF lays a line that is similar in thickness to that of a gel pen between 0.5 to 0.7 mm, depending on your angle of writing. The nibs are smooth without being overly smooth and hard to control. On a scale of 1-6 with 1 being nails-on-chalkboard-scratchy and 6 being butter-smooth, I would say it's a 5, which is probably just nice for me!

I've been using the Lamy Safari almost everyday for more than a month. It's a fun and reliable pen that will appeal to both novice and more seasoned fountain pen users. In fact, I may get another one just to give the lime green pen some company!



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#2 rcannonp

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 12:24

I always thought that the Safari had a rather ugly, utilitarian design. Now I've got three of them and the pencil. The first one that I got was a Vista with an EF nib. The contoured grip and light weight make it a joy to use. I've also found that the nib makes slightly wider horizontal strokes than vertical strokes. This gives a bit of line variation that I don't see with my other pens.

I initially thought that the transparency of the Vista added some interest to what was a rather dull visual design. The solid colors are growing on me though. I do like that you can easily see the ink levels in the Vista. You can see the whole converter, which works better than the windows. The problem that I have with the Vista is that after using it for a while, I can see scuff marks on the inside of the cap. I think that the Charcoal will be my next one.

#3 holgalee

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 03:02

I'm not exactly enamoured with the design of the Safari as I prefer less 'in your face' pens that shout 'look at me'!. I really like the classic Pelikan look even though some call it boring wink.gif. The reason why I wrote this review is that although I have since added other fountain pens to my collection, this is still the pen I use everyday, and I needed to find out why.
Hmm...I don't see any line variation with the Safari EF, but with my Pelikan M150 EF. I think the Vista is cool but it looks very 'masculine' to me. Prefer a less chunky look for 'demonstrators', such as the Pelikan M200/M205, but the price of the Vista is very attractive embarrassed_smile.gif.

#4 JEBennett

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 15:02

QUOTE (holgalee @ Dec 27 2008, 10:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm not exactly enamoured with the design of the Safari as I prefer less 'in your face' pens that shout 'look at me'!. I really like the classic Pelikan look even though some call it boring wink.gif. The reason why I wrote this review is that although I have since added other fountain pens to my collection, this is still the pen I use everyday, and I needed to find out why.
Hmm...I don't see any line variation with the Safari EF, but with my Pelikan M150 EF. I think the Vista is cool but it looks very 'masculine' to me. Prefer a less chunky look for 'demonstrators', such as the Pelikan M200/M205, but the price of the Vista is very attractive embarrassed_smile.gif.


You mention that the Safari is a little heavy to you posted, and that is something that I also thought for the longest time. Something I have found with my Safari and more recently with my Studio, though, is that you can dramatically affect the balance of the pen with the way you post the cap. Try posting it with the clip pointed toward your hand, and I think you may find the pen more comfortable to use that way.

Also, I would highly recommend the charcoal Safari, as it has a wonderfully grippy texture to it that the other Safari's seem to lack. There's a reason its the one we sell out of first at work. smile.gif

#5 henrico

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 19:37

happyberet.gif Here is my Lamy Safari-Joy hybrid. I've taken the Joy italic nibs from the Joy set and inserted them in my Safari(1.1mm) and Al-Star(1.5mm). The 1.9mm Joy italic remains in the Joy holder and the M nibs are in the Joy box.

Henrico

#6 diplomat

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 22:41

QUOTE (henrico @ Dec 28 2008, 08:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
happyberet.gif Here is my Lamy Safari-Joy hybrid. I've taken the Joy italic nibs from the Joy set and inserted them in my Safari(1.1mm) and Al-Star(1.5mm). The 1.9mm Joy italic remains in the Joy holder and the M nibs are in the Joy box.

Henrico


Ciao Henrico, do you know you can swap only the nibs and not the whole unit? This way you can keep the whole colour scheme of the pen if you want.

Removing the nib from the feed is quite an easy operation, involving some scotch tape or the pen's cap.

There are various discussions out there on this topic, here's a couple I found:

http://www.fountainp...n...st&p=138593

http://www.fountainp...showtopic=50288

Cheers,

#7 henrico

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 23:46

happyberet.gif Thanks Diplomat. Actually, I like the red/black combination, like a red Ferrari with black interior

Henrico

#8 Bach 5G

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:24

"and you'll soon discover the strange and uneasy chemistry that exists between nibs, inks and papers."

Nice observation.




#9 holgalee

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:25

QUOTE (henrico @ Dec 29 2008, 07:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
happyberet.gif Thanks Diplomat. Actually, I like the red/black combination, like a red Ferrari with black interior
Henrico


It looka really cool! Any ideas whether the Al-Star section can be fitted onto a Safari?

#10 henrico

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:36

happyberet.gif Yes holgalee........the Al-Star section will fit the Safari as they are identical in all dimensions and thus interchangeable. smile.gif Great pens.

Henrico

#11 Stevopedia

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:08

QUOTE (henrico @ Dec 28 2008, 08:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
happyberet.gif Yes holgalee........the Al-Star section will fit the Safari as they are identical in all dimensions and thus interchangeable. smile.gif Great pens.

Henrico

Well, yes and no. I've got an Al-Star and a Safari (well, a Vista) and swapping the sections was one of the first things I tried. Unfortunately it failed, and for two reasons: the threads on the sections may be slightly different, and more importantly the black part that keeps the cap on is on the section of the Safari and the barrel of the Al-Star. So basically it's possible, but not practical; the cap wouldn't stay on (Al-Star section on the Safari barrel) or the cap wouldn't go on all the way (Safari section on Al-Star barrel).

#12 JEBennett

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 04:18

QUOTE (Stevopedia @ Dec 28 2008, 10:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (henrico @ Dec 28 2008, 08:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
happyberet.gif Yes holgalee........the Al-Star section will fit the Safari as they are identical in all dimensions and thus interchangeable. smile.gif Great pens.

Henrico

Well, yes and no. I've got an Al-Star and a Safari (well, a Vista) and swapping the sections was one of the first things I tried. Unfortunately it failed, and for two reasons: the threads on the sections may be slightly different, and more importantly the black part that keeps the cap on is on the section of the Safari and the barrel of the Al-Star. So basically it's possible, but not practical; the cap wouldn't stay on (Al-Star section on the Safari barrel) or the cap wouldn't go on all the way (Safari section on Al-Star barrel).


In experimenting with the Al-Star and Safari at work, a co-worker found that the fountain pen section of the Safari will thread in completely to the body of the Al-Star Roller ball.

#13 holgalee

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 10:12

I like the clear dark Al-Star section but not the aluminum body as it gets scratched easily. Good to know what I can't switch that way. Thank you all! smile.gif

#14 henrico

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 19:19

happyberet.gif Stevopedia...........after reading your post, I took a close look at all 3 Lamy pen lower sections, Safari, Al-Star and Joy, and found all 3 identical in all respects including threads. eureka.gif The differences you mention concern the removeable black O-rings found on the Safari and Joy sections which is not present on the Al-Star. The Al-Star has a permanent "O-ring" attached to the barrel. When I inserted the Joy section on to the Al-Star barrel, I had not realized that the O-ring of the Joy was still attached so ended up with 2 O-rings back-to-back. Nevertheless, the Al-Star cap still snapped firmly into place over the Joy O-ring leaving the permanent O-ring of the Al-Star visible. If I remove the Joy O-ring from the Joy section, the Al-Star cap stills snaps into place over the permanent Al-Star O-ring and the pen is then its normal "self". This applies also to the Safari section placed on to the Al-Star barrel. Bottom line is all 3 sections found on the Al-Star, the Safari and Joy pens are identical and interchangeable.

Hope this is not too confusing. biggrin.gif

The Joy pen set comes with 2 translucent plastic caps stored underneath the box containing the refills. Can anyone tell me what is their function?

Henrico

Edited by henrico, 29 December 2008 - 19:27.


#15 Juan in Andalucia

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 16:08

The plastic O-ring is not what keeps the safari/AlStar/Vista posted, but an internal part in the cap which attaches to the "collar" near the end of the section (next to the nib).

Juan

#16 henrico

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 18:10

happyberet.gif Juan.........thanks for that. Now I know what keeps the cap secured

As a cheap, unadorned, plasticky pen, the Lamy Safari sure gets a lot of attention. Is this due to its modern design, its cost, its efficiency, its no frills looks?

In years to come, the Lamy Safari will become a classic. I can foresee this in the manner owners wish to express their liking for this FP. It's the future "art deco" pen.

With the Phileas going out of production, it will become the pen of choice for many more folks, for those who want and need a functional pen rather than some sort of artwork. It may have its faults but minor faults they are. It's also availbale in many shops.

My Al-Star has been inked now for 8 continuous years and has never skipped a beat. Maintenance consists of washing under the hot water tap when changing the cartridge.

Too bad for Waterman.

Henrico

#17 UsFour

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 21:48

message deleted...

:0)

Edited by UsFour, 30 December 2008 - 21:54.







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