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Pilot Vanishing Point- To Buy Or Not To Buy?



rumbleroar

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Hey guys! I'm relatively new to fountain pens, but I adore them already. I started using them as a product of a search for a finer line (messy, fast, small script required it), and now I continue my search. I am currently most interested in the Pilot Vanishing Point XF nib, which I have heard great things about. For context, I am a senior in high school (limited funds, and this will be used for note-taking), and I have been using a Lamy Safari XF for about five months now.

 

How much thinner is the VP XF nib? How smoothly does it write? Is it useable for daily note-taking, as in fast note-taking? Could I use it with your typical 5-subject mead or staples notebook? ****If not, what's a good five-subject notebook for it?******

 

And, honestly, is $140 worth it? I'm saving up for it with lawn-mowing so it will take a few months (or longer if it snows early this year), but if it's really worth it I'm in.

 

And one more thing, does anyone know if it's possible to test-drive one in a pen shop? It doesn't have to be any particular size nib, I just would like to know if the clip placement is a problem before I spend that amount of money.

 

Thank you, to anyone who can help me out!

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Do test drive one, but also compare it to the far cheaper Lamy Safari, which has nice fine, hearty nibs, perfect for note taking. Plus, in a hectic school setting, less of a tragedy if it disappears. Enjoy the quest!

 

-- MJ

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well, you could try finding a Pilot 78G in F or XF. (dunno if they made that one in XF, but the VP's XF nib will be finer than the 78G's F anyway.) that'll get you a hint as to the nib size you're interested in for a tenth of the money.

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StrawberryJam

If you have a tripod grip, the VP cap should not cause you any problems. I like the EF nib on the VP -- it is very stiff with really no flex, but it makes for a sharp fine line and does not skip. I write exclusively on yellow legal pads, which is pretty lousy paper, and I haven't had any problems, so I think you should be fine with any sort of standard school notebook. The other thing I like about the VP is that there is no cap to lose (or take off when you want to write).

 

As for VP EF vs. Lamy Safari EF, take a look at the nib nook tool at gouletpens.com -- they have writing samples for comparison. I would expect that the Lamy is much wetter as well.

 

If you want EF but don't want to spend the money on a VP, you can get a prera or 78G and swap out the nib with a pilot penmanship EF (which i think runs about $9 on jetpens).

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The Lamy xf is a good notes pen as is, and actually holds lots more ink than the VP. That said, the vp is a very good note pen with a very fine xf. Even if a store won't ink one for you they should let you hold it and see how it feels.

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The XF nib on the Pilot Penmanship writes a line comparable to the ultra micro uni-ball rollerball pens that claim to be 0.38mm or so. And it feels about as scratchy as the uni-ball. The Penmanship writes well (easy starting, no skipping) but is very sensitive to the paper that I use it on. It has, on one occasion, pulled a fiber out of cheap paper that I had to remove from between the tines with tweezers. That has been my only trouble with it so far.

 

I have no experience with the VP XF nib, but based simply on the price difference, I would expect it to be no worse than the Penmanship, and probably much better. My Penmanship isn't very wet, so if the VP is more wet, I suppose the line would be a little wider.

 

However, I'm more the noob than you are, so my speculation may be way off the mark. Hopefully someone more knowledgable will correct me if that is the case.

 

Good luck with your decision!

 

--flatline

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Due to the location of the pen clip, I would advise you to find someone who has the VP or a store that sells the VP so that you can hold and get the feel for the pen before you buy it. While I have always liked the look and idea of this pen, I cannot write with a VP due to the location of the pen clip. For me, the location of the pen clip makes the pen uncomfortable for me to hold. In addition, I cannot rotate the pen to get the nib angle that I prefer due to the pen clip.

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Due to the location of the pen clip, I would advise you to find someone who has the VP or a store that sells the VP so that you can hold and get the feel for the pen before you buy it. While I have always liked the look and idea of this pen, I cannot write with a VP due to the location of the pen clip. For me, the location of the pen clip makes the pen uncomfortable for me to hold. In addition, I cannot rotate the pen to get the nib angle that I prefer due to the pen clip.

+1. Would recommend you find a pen store that has a VP if possible and try gripping the VP first. Due to the way I grip my pens, the clip gets in the way. I tried the Visconti Pininfarina today and while it is quite lovely and writes smoothly, I just could not write with it properly because of the clip.

 

Good Luck !

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ParkerGuy2000

Agree with what Elysee wrote. I know a lot of people like VP's, and a friend likes it enough to have three of them.

 

But for me, the clip is a deal-breaker. I tend to rotate counterclockwise to find the sweet spot. My particular VP skips on certain angles. Even if I can get that fixed, I'm still bothered by the clip because of the way I hold pens. it would be good if you can try out one and write a lengthy passage with it - a complete paragraph, for instance. My hand tends to fatigue at that point.

 

I find it too spring-y, too - probably because the nib unit moves up and down, hence a little bit of play cannot be avoided.

 

I haven't flipped mine, because I only use it for short bursts, when the retractable function comes in really handy. The broad nib is quite generous, and I'm thinking it would be perfect if only I can get the skipping part fixed.

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I had a VP for a long time and I would not recommend it in a high school setting.

 

I think the price is fair, but it is a risk to take an expensive pen like that to high school More importantly, I did not find the VP very robust. The main body is excellent and resists scratches and dents. However the nose and the bit you depress with your thumb are not robust. The latter dents easily. The former scratches easily and will crack under pressure. The current design of the clip stresses the nose and with ordinary wear and tear, such as you might get at school, I think you may be disappointed.

 

I should say I am a fan of the VP though because of these issues I moved to the VP Fermo which seems to me more robust, especially at the nose end.

 

David.

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While I find the VP's design (especially the retractable nib) rather innovative, I think you should try out something else, cheaper since you'll be using it in school.

 

A pilot metropolitan is cheaper than the Safari, and has the trademark Pilot nib. Worth a try if you want to get the Pilot experience.

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I love my yellow VP with F nib. It was not my 1st fountain pen but it was the pen that started me down the enthusiast path. Writes a beautiful, nice, Japanese fine line. Love not having to cap/uncap for quick notes. Very stylish to boot. The clip does not give me pause as it's 100% compatible with my grip but it is not for everybody and, as others have said, should be tried before you buy if you have a non-standard grip. If you do pick one up, I'd recommend replacing the Con-50 converter with a Con-20 as it will hold a bit more ink. Cartridges work well too and may better suit a classroom environment. Good luck with your decision.

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WhilemI hesitate to recommend a $100+ pen for High School, many students do carry around technology well in excess of that figure (phones, ipods, tablets, calculators, etc.) without problems. If anything smartphones and the like are more of a target for theft. It depends on the individual student's ability to keep up with their property. I would certainly advise keeping clipped to a shirt pocket or a similar location rather than a vulnerable location like in your binder or backpack (or even in your locker).

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I love my VP but definitely see how the clip would interfere with some writing styles. As to the expense versus taking to high school, only you know if the environment and your level of leaving it where it would be taken is an acceptable risk. I think it would be a very fine note taking pen. I got mine from Goulet and it wrote very well out of the box. However, I'd recommend getting it from Richard Binder or Mottishaw where it can be fine tuned to your writing style for the same price.

 

Another plus for the VP is that the nib unit can be changed out so for much less that a second pen you could get an extra nib unit in a different size or loaded with a different color.

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At some stores that sell fountain pens you may find a demonstrator VP attached to a stand. Do try it out to see if you can deal with the pen clip grip, but pay little attention to the feel of the nib, as it will likely have been mangled by those who try out the pen but don't know how little pressure to apply.

Edited by sbroda
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Where are you located? Maybe someone knows of a place you can try one out. The only place around here that sells them, only has the matte black one in the funky display package so he won't take it out to let anyone hold it. If you're going to have to save up for months to afford one, you should definitely hold one first.

 

I have 1 VP, and I like it a lot. It's probably the best fast writer I have, so it would likely be a good one for taking notes. But, like you, I was unsure about the purchase, because of the clip.

 

I bought mine on the classifieds here on FPN. Quite a few of them turn up, in very good shape, because the clip bothers so many people. If you watch, you should be able to find one in the $100-$110 range. I got lucky and got mine even cheaper. Lucky for me the clip works just fine with my grip.

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You've received some great advice here. Definitely handle a VP before buying one, and you really want to do it with one inked to see how your sweet spot works. People either like that pen or they don't; very rarely do people feel in-between about it. As for taking it to school, while I agree that it is a lot of money, given that you will be working for weeks to GET that amount of money my guess is that you will be quite aware of the location of your pen. I wouldn't worry about it getting lost. It is not flashy enough to steal, and most people aren't going to realize it is an FP. Plus, i don't think most "borrowers" are going to damage that steel nib unless they do it on purpose.

 

So, if you like it after trying it out, go for it. The click of that pen makes it great for note taking.

 

Sharon in Indiana

Edited by sharonspens

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Just wanted to add that some vendors will remove the clip for you (for a fee).

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Just wanted to add that some vendors will remove the clip for you (for a fee).

What sorcery?! How much more would that cost, and where can I find it?

 

I really wanted a VP, but the clip killed it (I own a Lamy Dialog 3 and the clip on that is only just acceptable).

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I personally do not like the modern Vanishing Points due to the clip placement, weight and cap diameter... they just don't feel right in my hand....

I bought and sold about 4 of them over the course of time........

 

HOWEVER, I AM IN LOVE with the older facetted Vanishing Points as they feel every bit as good in my hand as my favorite Parker 51..

The also use the same nib units as the modern pens and can generally be found on eBay for about the same price or a bit less....

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