Review: Lamy Safari (Dark Lilac, Medium Nib)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The Lamy Safari is a commonly recommended “beginner” pen. I didn’t try one until I had been using fountain pens pretty regularly for over a year — the design was never a “gotta have” for me, and I had always heard the nibs ran broad, which wasn’t what I thought I preferred. When I finally acquired a Safari (won it in a raffle at a local art supply store), I was pleasantly surprised by how well made it seemed, but quickly grew frustrated with the triangular grip. Of the common “beginner” pens, it’s the one I like least — I much prefer the TWSBI Eco and Pilot Metro, but that’s personal preference.

Pam:  The Lamy Safari’s unique design makes it a definite standout among all the fountain pens, let alone an introductory pen.  I have picked up the Lamy Safari and the Lamy Joy in the past, and they have since found happier homes.  However, picking up Katherine’s Lamy Safari brought back some great memories and reasons why I was drawn to that pen in the first place.

The oddly shaped grip didn’t initially bother me, it’s only an issue when I grip too tight and the softer corners of the grip can dig into my fingers and the soft spot between my thumb and pointer finger.  The color of the dark lilac with the black trim is quite awesome.  In general, I do prefer the shiny chrome trim. The texture of the dark lilac is also quite different given that it has a more matte finish to the “shiny” and slick Safaris.  The extra “grippier” texture does add to a good hand feel.  I haven’t had the chance to try the AL (aluminum) version of the Safari and I would be curious to see if the feel in hand would be different.

Franz: When I started using fountain pens, I noticed that there is a disparity between pen people about the Lamy Safari through my online research. This was mainly due to the triangular grip that kind of forces one how to grip the pen. But because I liked how the charcoal version of the Safari looks, (and it was on sale on Amazon) I eventually got one when I was six months into the hobby. The grip actually did not bother me and I found that my fingers just rested almost parallel to the pen. This can be seen below in the unposted In the Hand photo.

I’m loving the Dark Lilac color with the black trim and the matte finish lets me hold the pen without my fingers slipping off.

In the Hand: Lamy Safari (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Pam, and Katherine
In the Hand: Lamy Safari (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Pam, and Katherine

The Business End

Katherine: The Safari nib is smooth and pretty straightforward. I’ve tried a couple now and found that they have been pretty consistent. However, in general, I don’t prefer super-smooth nibs, so I find the Lamy Safari nib a little “too smooth” and would prefer something with a touch more feedback.

Pam:  I am reminded and also surprised how much I enjoyed the medium nib on Tomoe River paper/Hobonichi and Midori paper.  Maybe it’s Franz’s influence, but the broader line didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.  Instead, I found the nib to be smooth and really easy to use.  I enjoy stiffer nibs and I do feel that the Safari’s nibs are quite stiff.  The line is always consistent and clean.  I have had some experience that the nib can be on the drier side.

Franz: I love the black nib on this Safari however, it may develop scratches and eventually the coating will peel from use as you can already see some in the photo below.

This was my first medium Safari nib and it was quite smooth with a good flow. My first Safari had a fine nib and the ink flow was a bit dry. For those who don’t know, you can actually buy separate nibs in different sizes for cheap and switch it out ofthe feed. So you can have multiple nib widths with just one pen.

Please note that the Safari is cartridge/converter filled and they include one cartridge when you buy the pen, but they do not include the Z24 converter so that would be an added expense.

Write It Up

Katherine: The Safari is, overall, a comfortable size. The triangle grip was initially a huge turn-off for me, but after forcing myself to use it for a longer writing session I found that it wasn’t nearly as annoying as I thought. I still wouldn’t actively seek out a pen with a grip like this, but it isn’t as unusable as I thought it would be. Instead I found that I wrote very consistently since my angle never changed. Overall I found it usable and comfortable — but, like Franz, I wish it was a little bit heavier.

Pam:  I found the Safari to be slightly top heavy when posted, but too light when unposted.  Like the Eco, the length was just a tad too long, especially when posted.  If the Safari was closer to the size of the Prera, or even the Pelikan M200s/M400s, it probably would have stayed in my collection.  The plastic does make the pen really light, which can lead to comfort when writing for an extended period of time.  It can also lend to feeling too insubstantial, like the Kaweco Sport. I very much enjoyed my time with the Safari and being reacquainted with the nib on paper.  I was also reminded that I didn’t enjoy the body of the pen as much as I do the nib.

Franz: The length of the Safari is adequate for my hand in either posted, or unposted modes. The width of the grip section felt nice especially since I hold it higher. I really just wish the pen was a little heavier though. For 20 minutes, I wrote with the cap posted to give a little bit more weight. It was an enjoyable journaling moment.

EDC-ness

Katherine: The Lamy shines on this front — the snap cap makes it easy to grab and go, and the triangular grip helps you get yourself into the right position for writing quickly. If I needed to keep a fountain pen at my desk for quick notes or for people to borrow, the Lamy Safari would be a strong contender.

Pam:  Snap cap and durability of the plastic makes the Safari a great work pen.  The design is also really interesting and sure to spark a few conversations among your pen-curious co-workers.  The medium nib is dry enough to work relatively well on copy paper with minimal bleeding or feathering.

Franz: The Lamy Safari is actually a great pen to use on a daily basis for its plastic ruggedness makes it easy to just bring along even without a case. The slip cap definitely made it a quick deploy pen and the medium nib was good for the copy paper at work as well. The Dark Lilac color also was admired by a customer of mine and had me talk a little about fountain pens. Yeah!

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: The Lamy Safari just isn’t my cup of tea. The triangular grip and lightness add up to a pen that I don’t actively dislike, but am not excited to use. Overall, I think of it as a very bland pen — it works, but doesn’t bring me joy.

Pam:  I would recommend the Lamy Safari to those who enjoy the TWSBI Eco for the size and want to enjoy the versatility of swapping out nibs.  The design is unique, the pen is relatively affordable, and a great introduction to Lamy as a brand and to fountain pens as a whole.  My only quibble, which is a personal preference was in the size and weight.  Those nibs though… definitely worth a try in any Lamy pen that will accommodate them.

Franz: Pam has listed some great reasons as to why the Lamy Safari has been recommended to fountain pen beginners, and doing these pen reviews made me appreciate this pen for what it is. The Safari is a pen that is a gateway for new users and is also great for experienced pen folk.

I like this pen a lot but it just seems a little light for me. It’s really the only negative thing for me. Granted, since I own three Safari versions at the present time, it’s not a very big negative for me. Haha!

Thank you for reading and your time.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pelikan M205, Lamy 2000, *Lamy Safari*, TWSBI Eco, Conklin Duragraph, and Pelikan M805
Posted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pelikan M205, Lamy 2000, *Lamy Safari*, TWSBI Eco, Conklin Duragraph, and Pelikan M805
Unposted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pelikan M205, Lamy 2000, *Lamy Safari*, TWSBI Eco, Conklin Duragraph, and Pelikan M805

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

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Review: Lamy 2000 (Makrolon)

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Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: This pen looks pretty cool. I like the brushed finish of the Makrolon and the hooded nib. I also really like how the pen has an ink window, but it’s pretty subtle. AND it has a slip cap, +10 points for Gryffindor.

Franz: The Lamy 2000 is such a great looking pen that is also an awesome writer. The first feature that attracted me to this pen is the almost invisible line that separates the piston knob and barrel. I love that it looks so solid from afar. And Katherine is right about the brushed finish. It just gives a nice feel to the hand.

Uncapped, there is a contrast between the section and the barrel. I definitely love this feature. Once you cap the Lamy 2000, there is a satisfying click that lets you know it’s secure.

Pam: The Lamy 2000 is the Dr. Who of pens.  It is such a classic with it’s minimalist design that the pen appears ageless.  You would never guess that the Lamy 2000 is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year! With the clean lines, brushed finish and contrast between the metal and Makrolon, this pen also looks like it belongs in the future.  Like Dr. Who, it also has a cult following, is always in style and has a special place in my nerdy heart.

In the Hand: Lamy 2000 (posted) — from left to right: Katherine, Pam and Franz

 

In the Hand: Lamy 2000 (unposted) — from left to right — Franz, Pam & Katherine (we like to mix up the ordering!)

 

The Business End

Katherine: I’ve tried Lamy 2000s in the past and I’ve never been a fan. I find the Lamy nib way too smooth. I feel like I’m writing with a glass chopstick — but this is totally personal preference, this just isn’t my favorite nib. The Extra Fine nib is a little less smooth, especially on some papers with more texture like Midori’s MD paper. On super-smooth Tomoe River paper though, writing with this nib gives me a weird sense of nails-against-glass feeling. Also, this EF is nothing like a Japanese EF, which I prefer, but it’s usable. 

Franz: When I got my Lamy 2000, it was a medium nib. A smooth, juicy, and springy medium nib out of the box and I liked it for what it was. I wrote on a Rhodia Webnotebook for journaling and I found the nib just gliding on the paper. Initially, it does take a conscious effort to make sure that I am holding the pen correctly. If I rotate the pen too much, it may not write as smoothly as it’s supposed to. After continued writing, you do get used to how to grip it and how much rotation you get away with.

I speak of the nib in the past tense because at the first pen show I attended which was the 2014 LA Pen Show, it was made into a cursive italic by Mr. Mike Masuyama. I didn’t just like the nib anymore, I loved it. I find that it’s quite a versatile pen as I use it on Tomoe River paper, Rhodia notepads, my Hobonichi planner, and cheap copy paper from work.

In contrast with Katherine’s experience, the performance of the Lamy 2000’s nib is one of the reasons why I like this pen.

Pam: For someone who loves/prefers Japanese extra fine and fine nibs, I was resigned to the fact that the Lamy EF would be “too broad” for me.  I have never been so happy to be WRONG about this nib.  The nib is unique in it’s shape.  Unlike most nibs where the tipping is round, the tipping on the Lamy 2000 is almost triangular.  Maybe it’s just me, but that gives a very specific characteristic to the lines created by this pen.  With the way I hold my Lamy 2000, I feel like I get a “stub-like” line variation in my handwriting.  (Or maybe that is my imagination.)

My Lamy 2000 is constantly inked up with Sailor Yama-Dori and performs well on all papers.  It glides over Tomoe River paper and Rhodia and has some texture when I write on cheap copy paper at work.  The nib is springy and responsive enough that you can see the sheen of Yama-Dori come through. Depending on my writing pressure, the nib will even be wet enough to cause the ink to sheen on cheap copy paper. There are few pens that perform as admirably on copy paper as the Lamy 2000.  I prefer to use this pen, and it’s “broader” EF nib for editing and auditing while at work.

Katherine’s EF nib and her writing sample — on Maruman Mnemosyne
Franz’s medium cursive italic nib
Pam’s writing sample of her extra fine nib

 

Write It Up

(20-minute writing experience)

Katherine: Once I’ve got the grip right, it’s a comfortable pen. I use it unposted and, feedback aside, I found it very comfortable. It’s a light pen, so it’s easy to forget that the pen is there. On smoother paper though, the smoothness bugs me. I’d be happy journaling with this pen if my journal wasn’t Tomoe River paper.

Franz: I post the cap and grip the pen a little far back up. My index finger seems to always land right on the “ears” that keep the cap in place. This actually gives me a reference as to how much  I’ve rotated the pen.

Needless to say, the 20-minute writing experience was fun and relaxing. As the pen wrote, my thoughts flowed.

Pam: I really can’t get a decent “tripod” or “traditional” grip on the Lamy 2000, so I had a hard time using Franz’s Lamy with a cursive italic grind. With my “iron grip,” or fist like grip, the width of the pen being wider than most other pens is more comfortable for longer writing sessions.  The non-FP equivalent of this pen is like the Dr. Grip pens where the width is part of the comfort. I prefer to write with the pen posted.  The slightly added weight is just enough for me to enjoy the weight of the pen in hand and prevent me from losing the cap while at work.

The Lamy 2000 is great for quick notes at work, but the pen shines with lengthier writing times.  I get entranced with the lines from the EF nib and the sheen from Yama-Dori.  (Or perhaps I am easily entertained.)  I prefer the pen/ink combo with Tomoe River paper.  I typically find myself looking for an excuse to write with this pen or I find myself missing the writing experience if I don’t use this pen for a journaling session at least once a week.  

 

        EDC-ness

Katherine: Writing experience aside, I really enjoy this pen as a work pen. I love that it is a clean, classic looking pen that my coworkers don’t bat an eye at. And, the snap cap makes it very convenient for jotting down quick notes.

Franz: I love this pen’s ease of use. Snap cap for fast deployment, spring clip for the shirt pocket, and the awesome nib to write whatever is required. This is definitely a pen I’d use everyday at work. On my days off, I seem to always clip this in my shirt pocket and have it as a knockabout pen.

Pam:  To echo Katherine and Franz, the pen is VERY work friendly.  The clip is great whether it is clipped to the pocket of my white coat or clipped to my hobonichi cover.  It’s not the tightest of clips, but that’s perfectly alright with me given my use case.  The Lamy 2000’s clip is secure and will glide in and out of pockets.

This was also the pen I recommended to a colleague who asked for a fountain pen that would tolerate being dropped.  (A happy ending for my colleague: No Pelikans have since been harmed with the use of the Lamy 2000, sparing the Pelikans a tragic and heartbreaking fate of cracked bindes and weeks of repairs.)  I have been thanked for this recommendation for the last year and a half.  It’s often his favorite fountain pen within his collection.

 

        Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: I was surprised at how light this pen is. It’s a fairly comfortable pen when I hold it correctly, but because of the hooded nib and the way the pen looks (no obvious “up”) sometimes I pick it up funny and end up trying to write at a silly angle. The pen is long enough that I didn’t even think of posting it. Was I supposed to post it?

I really enjoy the look of this pen — so slick and modern! But, the nib on this pen is a deal breaker for me. I’d consider buying one used perhaps in a Fine or Medium nib and having it ground.

Franz: The Lamy 2000 is a nice sized pen and I do recommend this for almost every hand size. My large paw does not get uncomfortable journaling with this pen as long as it’s posted. Unposted, it is still comfortable for quick notes and signatures. I love the ink capacity of piston-filled pens and this isn’t any different. I can go for days, or even a full week without refilling.

This is a solid choice for pen enthusiasts or even just for a person who wants a fountain pen for utility. The pen’s shape, the brushed black makrolon material, and the nice nib section, are just a few features that for me makes it an “iconic” pen. Iconic is a subjective term so let me define what it means to myself. For me, an iconic pen means it is a well-known, great quality pen that is recommended for one to have in their collection. I may get some flak for saying this but in my humble opinion, I think that the Lamy 2000 can be called a modern-day Parker 51 because of how utilitarian and iconic of a pen it’s been. There. I said it.

If you have never held, or written with this pen before, give it a try and you just might like it. It’s been a pen model manufactured by Lamy since the mid-1960’s. I think they’ve done something right.

Pam:  Many state that this pen is a great “first gold nib” pen or “upgraded $100+ pen.”  For me, this was THE pen.  Not only was it a simply beautiful and classic design, but the material is unique, the finish is immaculate and did I mention the hooded nib that is wonderfully smooth and consistent?  I have since accumulated other “grail” pens, but the Lamy 2000 is a special kind of favorite, no matter what else is in my collection.  (You can’t really choose a favorite child… or can you?)

 

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Closed pen from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

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Posted cap from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

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Unposted/Open from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

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