The Classic // LAMY Safari [REVIEW]

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LAMY Safari Fountain Pen
EF nib, black finish
Aquamarine Edition (2011)
$29.60 USD [purchase from jetpens]
Current ink: Waterman South Sea Blue Ink (now ‘Inspired Blue’ [purchase from goulet pens]

It is probably unlikely that you will come across a pen blog or pen enthusiast that doesn’t talk about or mention the LAMY Safari. This is, imo, one of the most popular, consistent, decently priced, quality beginner fountain pen out there. The one I will be musing about today is actually my second fountain pen, one that I purchased a few years after my first (which was a gift) since I liked it so much (see below). I have also quietly observed that any architecture student who is into being a fancy pants will own a Safari, so it is also a must-have pen for all architects who want to look cooler than they are (guilty).

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Lamy Safari Orange (2009) and Aquamarine (2011) special editions

Look:
Does this pen look super awesome? Yup!

This is really quite a feat of a design for a pen. This is a German made, quality product, built mostly with coloured plastic that doesn’t feel cheap, and available in multitudes of colours (usually a Special Edition for each version for each year). The overall shape of the pen is sleek and efficient, and the cap and clip are uniquely recognizable from striking distance of any pen nerd. Most pens come with a single clip while this one has a nice big loop (How else can I describe this, I am not sure…). The ergonomic triangular grip is also a neat feature and adds to the overall streamlined design. The pens also feature a peep hole for ink levels, which is quite useful and not present in many high end fountain pens. Finally, the nibs are designed to match the sleek design, definitely different than a typical fountain pen nib look. The nibs are easily interchangeable and are also available in a sick black finish (which I will always opt for), making the pens flexible and easy to use.

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Feel:
I have mentioned already, this is a solid pen, for more than its looks. This is usually my go-to pen for note taking, quick sketches, and also the pen that takes the most beating out of my collection. The snap cap versus twist makes it super convenient and a quick grab to easily take notes and such, particularly convenient because I can’t leave my pens capless or the ink dries in the nib, and snapping it on and off is just so easy.

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click to enlarge!

The drawing experience is also super solid. The steel nib is sturdy and smooth on almost any paper, including toothier sketchbook paper — e.g. the ‘handbook‘, one of the toothiest sketchbook papers I own. The proportions of the pen, as well as the shape of the grip make it really easy to hold and draw for a long time, even in “pinch” grip (my less favourable and less comfortable grip). The way I hold the Lamy is usually a lot looser than I do with the penmanship, and so I can get a lot more sketchy lines and can draw relatively fast with the pen. But despite holding the pen loosely, the quality build of the pen still allows me ample control and I usually don’t have to use my ‘fist’ grip. My only criticism for this pen might be that the triangular grip, while relatively comfortable to hold, is a little too close to the nib. Because of this, I tend to ride up closer and closer to the nib as I draw and end up getting ink on my hands. It happens ALL the time. Definitely the pen I get leaked on the most.

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Great for sketching freehand!

The reason I don’t use this pen for everything, like the pilot penmanship, is because the nib isn’t thin enough for a lot of my work, even as an EF. The Japanese nibs are just so much thinner, so I usually go with that for my drawings, and use the Lamy for sketching and notes. I tried drawing with the nib flipped, and I would say the Lamy nibs actually give one of the bests results for this without being overly scratchy or having no ink flow. It is quite useful to have two varying lineweights when I am sketching, but it’s not used often. Speaking of ink flow, the nib allows for a sufficient and consistent ink flow (even with this more watery ink) yet also doesn’t let the ink just gush out, which is important for me when I’m doing more accurate drawings. Overall the nib is stiff enough that it doesn’t have much flex, and lines remain relatively consistent. Obviously, the wider the nib, the more the ink flows, so the F nib on my Orange Lamy gushes a little bit more, and the sizing really makes for more of an ‘M’ nib IMO.

This is my most frequented pen for writing, due to its convenience and solidity as an everyday kind of pen. I use it at work to write notes, take minutes, sketches, doodles, lists, markups, details etc. I even use it on trace occasionally, but as I’ve noted in the photo below, ink dries really beautifully on trace, but it takes a little too long to dry, making it very impractical to use effectively in the industry. The EF nib also ends up looking quite M or B, but it is entirely possible that this is due to the runniness of the ink I am using.

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Testing the pen on trace

Value:
Is this pen worth it? Absolutely.

While the price point for one of these is not super cheap (~$30 not including ink, cartridges or a converter), this is one of those mid-low range pens that are really worth what you pay for it. I’ve used it for years pretty consistently, and it has taken quite a beating between getting thrown around in my pencil case, carried around on the go, nib switching and occasional cleaning. But despite all that, it still functions great as if it were just out of the box. The ink that I purchased along with has also lasted me a good while, and has certainly been worth the investment.

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Pulled out a sketch I did with this pen while I was in school, 2015

Conclusion: 
I’m starting to think this conclusion section is a little redundant, since every section I wrote is kind of a conclusion already. But anyhow, I shall conclude that this pen is excellent for all three categories: its build quality, writing and drawing ability as well as its value for what you pay for it. On top of that, you’re awarded an array of colours to pick from as well as a special edition colour every year for all the collectors out there. (I’ve been trying to wane myself from Lamy collecting due to budget, but this year’s Petrol is so incredibly enticing. Tough decisions.)

These reviews seem to take a little bit more time than I thought, hence the large gap between posts (also been super busy as of late). I also try and gather as much as I can in terms of thoughts, content, and doodles. I promise each one will get better and more refined, even if it takes me longer between posts! I’ll also plan to post photos or findings and anything related to my pen and artist world.

Plans for next review, doodle videos! I bought a snaptacle (snapchat spectacles) for a reason right? Also going to mix it up a bit for the next review, and pick a more recent purchase to review. Next up — Preppy

Thanks for reading 🙂

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