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Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Review


Introduction

With a timeless design, a bold aesthetic and unheard of affordability, the Lamy Safari is a staple in fountain pen ranges across the world. Since being released in the 1980's, Lamy's aim for this pen was to appeal to various different markets; through making it robust enough for students yet luxurious enough for the fountain pen enthusiasts, they have certainly succeeded. 

Additional writing systems and their consistent release of special edition colours have made the Lamy Safari a much sought-after luxury across the globe. 

Specs

 

  • Fountain pen with cartridge filling system with ink cartridge LAMY T 10 blue (can be modified for use with converter Z 24).
  • Steel nib, polished.
  • Available nib grades: medium (M) / extra fine (EF) / fine (F) / broad (B) / left-handed (LH).
  • Length Capped = 144 mm
  • Nib length = 17 mm
  • Section length = 35.5 mm
  • Section diameter (max/min) = 12.1/9.6 mm
  • Barrel diameter (max) = 12.2 mm
  • Total length (not posted, including nib) = 129 mm
  • Total length posted (including nib) = 166 mm

Aesthetics

Often fountain pens at this price range can look cheap, flimsy and quite tacky; however, this is not the case for the Lamy Safari. The Lamy safari has a bold, contemporary, sleek look which suggests it is worth much more than it's price tag states. In a world where most fountain pens are designed to be minimalistic and unobtrusive, the now iconic design makes the Lamy Safari instantly recognisable. Even if you were to not recognise the iconic design, the Safari has an artistic embossed Lamy logo on the barrel which emphasises the bold look Lamy have in mind. 

File:LamySafari.jpg

(Malpei, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Lamy Safari's come in a huge range of colours such as matte grey, metallic black, red, blue, white, and yellow. It's rare to see a pen look stylish in every colour but somehow Lamy have carefully picked the right tones and made each variant look tasteful. Additionally, most variant comes with a aesthetically pleasing chrome clip; its simple yet sleek and adds to the fashionable look of the pen. A rare addition to the Lamy Safari fountain pens is the barrels contain a window to the ink reservoir. Not only is this functional as you can tell how much ink is left but this subtle addition also looks pretty sleek.

Construction Quality

One of the key strengths of the Lamy Safari is how robust it is. The Safari is made completely out of plastic meaning it's sturdy nature can deal with most things life throws at it. The trade off for it's strong nature is the plastic makes the pen feel less luxurious compared to competitors who use a metal barrel. Having said that, Lamy have released the Al-Star fountain pen which is essentially the Safari made out of superior materials for those who like the Safari's aesthetics but want a more luxurious feeling pen.

File:Lamy Vista medium nib, Lamy Safari fine nib and Lamy AL-star graphit extra fine nib.jpg

(vinyleraser - https://www.flickr.com/photos/72514604@N04/, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Despite feeling sturdy and strong, the Lamy Safari is among the lightest fountain pens on the market. This is due to the pen being made of resin, and unlike most pens at this price range, the Lamy Safari's weight is well balanced. If you prefer your fountain pens to be light and transportable then it'd be hard to find a better match for you than the Lamy Safari.

Ergonomics

The Lamy Safari has an unusual grip design to say the least. Unlike most fountain pens that support a round design, a nice design feature for the Safari is it has two flat sides and two curved sides meaning the Safari doesn't roll in your hands, this subtle design feature allows you to write for extended periods of time without hurting your fingers. 

The Lamy Safari wears a plastic triangular grip. Like most grips, your opinion on this is going to be largely down to personal preference. The unusual grip may take an adjustment period for you if you are used to using other fountain pens, due to its different material, shape and design. Additionally, it may take some time to adjust to the Safari's barrel as it's much bigger than nearly every fountain pen on the market; however this does mean that the Safari does not become uncomfortable after writing for longer periods, unlike some of it's smaller competitors.  

Writing Performance and nib 

The one area where the Lamy Safari really stands out is for the writing experience. The ink flow is buttery-smooth, there's no hard starting, no skipping, no scratching and it has a great feed and is just the right level of wetness. 

The only negative about the writing experience is you have to get accustomed to Lamy's nib design as the Safari does not have the option to replace the current nib with other nib types. This means for those who want to explore nib calligraphy might be better with another fountain pen because Lamy don't offer a flex nib. Having said this, Lamy's nibs are adequate for most fountain pen users; they look good and perform perfectly fine. Furthermore, Lamy offer a range of nibs such as extra fine and italic nibs, if you were looking to change it up. 

Maintenance

The Lamy Safari has its positives and negatives when it comes to maintaining it. You do have to do everything through Lamy's eco system as any other cartridges or converters do not work with the Safari. However we're lucky that Lamy offer a wide range of products to meet your personal preferences. For example, Lamy offer a wide array of different ink colours ranging from the usual black and blue to abstract colours such as yellow and green.

The process to refill ink couldn't be any more straight forward due to being able to both buy ink cartridges or refill from an ink bottle. Furthermore, whilst refilling form an ink bottle is usually a complicated process; Lamy have made it very simple, all you need is a piston converter which is usually supplied, then u can dip your nib into a bottle of ink and twist the pen to suck the ink up to the reservoir. 

File:Lamy converters.jpg

(Francis Flinch, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

The downside of maintaining the Lamy Safari is how often the ink reservoir needs refilling, after only a couple days you're going to need to start looking at refilling the reservoir. Therefore, it may be beneficial to keep an ink bottle with you if you're constantly on the go. Furthermore, bear in mind refilling the reservoir is often messy due to the nature of bottled ink. 

As for cleaning the pen, the process is very straightforward. The pen can be dissembled in a matter of seconds and ink blockages can be cleared through a simple dip in water where the ink will slowly escape the steel nib 

Value for money and Conclusion

The Lamy Safari is positioned at the inexpensive end of the market, it can be found at online retailers such as Amazon and high-street retailers for around £15 to £20. Despite, it's small price tag the Lamy Safari holds up well in every department and has the respected reputation of being a Lamy product. It's an excellent fountain pen for those who want to begin using a fountain pen for the first time or for those who don't want to break the bank for a high-end fountain pen. 

 

 

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