September 11, 2012

Fountain Pens

As I mentioned in this post, I recently acquired a Platinum Preppy fountain pen. I admit that I bought the Preppy merely as a super low cost entry into the fountain pen world, and with low expectations. Seriously, how good can a $3.00 plastic fountain pen be? Nonetheless, I intentionally delayed its "maiden voyage" and kept it pristine and unused for awhile. Why? I didn't want to open the floodgates and let loose yet another acquisition disorder, but I eventually caved in, took it for a test drive, and said hello to FPAD (Fountain Pen Acquisition Disorder). The Preppy served its purpose honorably, and convinced me to look for a better fountain pen. After weeks of research and analysis paralysis, I finally pulled the trigger and bought the awesome looking pen you see in the picture: the Lamy Vista (extra fine nib).

The Internet is replete with reviews, videos, and comparisons of the Lamy Safari (Vista = transparent version of the Safari), and I don't have enough experience with fountain pens to add any meaningful content. Instead, I'll explain how I arrived at the decision to buy the Vista.

Me_1: "This Platinum Preppy isn't as smooth as I'd like, it writes a little dry, and it skips every now and then. Moreover, the cap has already cracked and the written line width is kinda thick, even though I have a fine nib on it."

Me_2: "Dude, it cost $3.00. Get over it and buy something better."

Me_1/2: "Sounds like a good idea. Let's do some research to find a few candidates. I guess my budget is around $50.00 because I'm still not 100% convinced that I like fountain pens. OK, after spending way too much time online, these look pretty good: Kaweco Sport; Pilot Prera; Lamy Safari; Sailor Lecoule; and Twsbi 540. Let's pick one."

Me_1: "I'm going to read some threads on The Fountain Pen Network and watch YouTube video reviews before I make a decision. I'm also going to create an online poll to see what fountain pen experts recommend. Perhaps I'll try to demo these pens in a brick and mortar store. Ooh, I really like the demonstrator/transparent pens."

Me_2: "I like the Prera the best. It looks super slick, Pilot has a great reputation, the cap prevents the nib from drying out, and it comes with a converter thingy."

Me_1: "I like the Lamy Safari. It gets great reviews and everyone recommends it for a beginner fountain pen. Plus, it's less than $30.00 and it comes in many different colors, including the transparent Vista version. By the way, the Prera is overpriced, and you can get the same nib on the Pilot 78G pen, which only costs $10.00. I don't care about a converter because I'm going to use ink cartridges for awhile."

The Lamy Vista
Me_2: "Whatever. The Lamy is too long, the extra fine nib is too wide for me, and the triangular grip section is wack (I concede that the Vista looks pretty cool). I don't care what the online poll says, I'm buying the Prera. In blue trim. The Japanese know their pens."

Me_1: "Just listen to all the fountain pen experts. They all say Lamy. It's no contest. Moreover, the Lamy is much cheaper than the Prera, which will reduce the likelihood of buyer's remorse. The Germans know their pens, too."

Me_1/2: "Alright, I'll take a look at the interactive comparison tools on the Goulet Pens website, flip a coin, or whatever, and will order the Pilot Prera. Or the Lamy Vista. Or the Pilot Prera. OK, this is ridiculous, delete the Prera from the shopping cart and get the Vista instead. But the Prera looks SO cool. Sure, but the design is juvenile. Arrrggggghh. Lamy Vista!"

I'm really glad the above-described ordeal is over. The Vista is simply a beautiful and well-designed pen. I even like the clip, which some people hate (pro tip: the pen is balanced such that it can assume a planking position resting on the clip). The Vista writes more consistently and looks much nicer than the Preppy.

Exploded View
My pre-purchase research made me realize that people like to see writing samples. I want to feel like a member of the fountain pen community, so I've included a few samples of my sketchy block printing. I don't remember when I gave up writing in cursive, and I don't remember when I gave up writing in lowercase. Regardless, the end result is my boring ALL CAPS writing style. You can find the writing samples at the bottom of this post.

PS - even though I probably could have saved a few bucks or found free shipping elsewhere, I decided to patronize Goulet Pens because I found their online tools, FAQs, and "Fountain of Knowledge" to be extremely helpful. If you are a fountain pen beginner like me, I encourage you to pay Goulet Pens a visit.

Writing Samples

First up is an entire page of Lamy Vista goodness (or badness, depending on your perspective):

Lamy Vista on Moleskine Paper

I thought it might be useful to show samples using different types of paper and different pens. Unfortunately, I don't own any "good" paper, so feel free to break out the lulz. Next up are some writing samples on cheap notepad paper:

Crappy Notepad Paper

I repeated my writing on a different notepad that said "Diamond" on it. The paper is definitely thicker and of higher quality, but I don't know how it compares to the good stuff known to those in the fountain pen world:

Not-So-Crappy Notepad Paper

Finally, an attempt to squeeze some writing onto a single page in my Moleskine notebook:

Comparison on Moleskine Paper

No comments:

Post a Comment