Lamy Pur Fountain Pen – Aluminum Smooth – EF Nib

2 01 2014
Didn't pack a scanner, so a picture of the writing sample will have to do for this time. Please imagine to yourselves that this appears as the proper Lamy blue.

Didn’t pack a scanner, so a picture of the writing sample will have to do for this time. Please imagine to yourselves that this appears as the proper Lamy blue.

As soon as one of these popped up at my local pen store, I snagged it (I think it actually appeared in their inventory at one of the pen shows; either way as soon as it hit the table I was on it). This has been another impulse purchase that I do not regret.

To commemorate my time visiting the snow, I figured authentic pen snow pictures were in order. This is probably not recommended by the manufacturer.

To commemorate my time visiting the snow, I figured authentic pen snow pictures were in order. This is probably not recommended by the manufacturer.

The body is smooth aluminum, lightweight and beautifully minimalist. It feels lovely to hold, with that smooth finish, and being lightweight aluminum it’s easy to write with the pen posted or unposted.

Wiped off the snow. Snow melted from my hands, and refroze on the pen. Good times.

Wiped off the snow. Snow melted from my hands, and refroze on the pen. Good times.

The clip is a spring-mounted steel clip, on which they should have embossed the Lamy logo—the logo printed onto the barrel is starting to wear off. Not that I’ll mind having a totally clean barrel.

Look! No sharp awkward edges! Just roundness!

Look! No sharp awkward edges! Just roundness!

For me, this grip is what bumps the Lamy Pur into favorite Lamy status (over, say, the Safari/Vista line). I try to work on having a proper, ideal grip, but sometimes I just can’t. This round, unguided grip forgives me.

I should have tested writing conditions in below freezing weather, but I was more interested in finishing the pictures and getting back inside where it was warm.

I should have tested writing conditions in below freezing weather, but I was more interested in finishing the pictures and getting back inside where it was warm.

I got my Lamy Pur with an extra fine steel nib, but any Lamy nib will work on this pen (Goulet Pens has it so you can order whatever nib size you want, from EF to 1.9mm nib, in steel or black color for all non-calligraphy nibs). The nib has been great so far, never scratchy, no problems starting, good flow, nice tactile feeling on the page. I’ve never much had problems with Lamy nibs myself, but know that if you’ve got one you absolutely love but want an upgrade in terms of body, you can just slap that favorite nib right onto the Lamy Pur.

The top kind of curves in, by the way, ever so slightly. Not sure what you'll do with that information but there it is

The top kind of curves in, by the way, ever so slightly. Not sure what you’ll do with that information but there it is

It comes in a decent little box, with one Lamy cartridge and the black-ended converter (the Z26, as opposed to the Z24). This is one of my favorite everyday pens—it looks snazzy, writes quite reliably, and while it’s a bit of a price bump from a Safari or a Vista it isn’t too terribly much more.

I got mine from Office Supplies and More, but you can also get the Lamy Pur with nib of your choice from the Goulet Pen Company online.

Lamy Vista Fountain Pen with Extra Fine Nib

9 04 2011

Though this Behance Dot Grid paper was not particularly good for the use of this Lamy, I used it anyway. To consistency!

This past weekend, I took a trip to New York City, and among a bunch of minor pen-related ambitions, I had one shining goal: go to a fancy pen store, buy a fountain pen, do not go bankrupt in the process. And what do you know, I accomplished all three.

Perusal of the internet suggested that the Art Brown International Pen Shop would probably be the most rewarding place to frolic for a fountain pen, and though I have no other stores to compare it to, I’ll go ahead and agree. The front of the store contains two long rows of well-lit glass cases, much as a purveyor of fine jewelry might be seen to own, full of exceedingly fancy pens that were no doubt astronomically beyond my price range. I was so intimidated and overwhelmed by the fancy display that I immediately beat a retreat to the back of the store, to browse among the notebooks and more common writing utensils, and to pull together the courage to ask about a modestly fancy pen. Prior reconnaissance suggested that Lamy might offer just such a pen.

Such a pen.

After trying a couple nibs, I settled on the extra fine–my love of a fine line always wins the day (unless we’re getting so fine that the pen is tearing up the paper and getting fibers all clogged up in itself. That will lose the day).

See-through pens make me feel like I have X-Ray vision.

The first thing that caught my eye about the Vista was pure aesthetics–I love the clear-barrel look. It’s so much more interesting–has so much more going on–than the opaque, single color barrel. You can see the innards! Isn’t that thrilling? I think it’s fantastic.

With the clear barrel, everyone will know when you're using off-brand cartridges and they will JUDGE YOU MERCILESSLY.

Most of the pen is made of this thick, strong plastic (maybe one day I’ll learn the actual names of plastics and how to differentiate between them), which leads to two consequences: one, the pen checks in at about medium weight category (due almost entirely to every piece of metal on the cap); two: this pen shows fingerprints EVERYWHERE. Unless you write with gloves. It also works excellently to display dust and other unwanted detritus.

Oh hellooooo, Distinctive Clip that is both Functional and Decorative. What's that? You want to grab onto some papers and never let go? Don't be silly; you're strong, but not THAT strong.

As I mentioned, much of this pen’s weight is in the cap. I was worried this would make the writing experience feel off-balance with the pen being so top-heavy when the cap was posted, but I found that the weight provided just the right amount of counterbalance against my fingers gripping the top of the pen. The weight of the pen was comfortable in my hand, and it added to the writing experience.

The clip design is quite ingenious– rather than a flat clip that is parallel to the barrel, this clip…how do I put this…dips down along the side of the barrel, so that the overall plane of the clip intersects with the shape of the barrel (of course they don’t literally intersect because the clip is a sturdy wire rather than a filled-in plane). The result is a clip with a lot more gripping power–I wasn’t worried about it falling off when clipped onto the cover and several pages of a staple-bound Clairefontaine notebook as I carried it around for a walk. Though perhaps it is too strong?–I could easily see this creasing and bending the pages of a weak notebook cover.

Helpfully, the one part of the grip that bothers me the most is the part I managed to leave out of this picture. Crazy good photography, that!

The grip on the barrel is entirely smooth–just two long concave indentations for your thumb and fingers. My main problem with this pen is right here, in the grip, though I’m not sure if the problem is with the construction of the pen or with the way I tend to hold pens. The hard edge on the side of the concave grip for the thumb digs in a little at the base of my thumb, and I feel like the joint where the barrel connects to the body bothers my hand between the index finger and the thumb. I can’t write for very long with my current hand posture without experiencing some discomfort. Given that I’ve only had this pen less than a week, I’m not going to say that this is a write-off; we’re just getting to know each other here. I’ll see if I can get into the habit of holding the pen in a different way, so that the grip works with me while writing instead of bothering me incessantly.


I wish nibs had more colorful designations than “Extra Fine.” Something like “Super Fly” or “Totally Tubular.” And they would only work if you used rainbow ink. … This caption went way off topic.

I went with the extra fine nib (though I can buy other nibs later, if I change my mind), and I think this is probably the best nib for daily use. The amount of ink coming out here, for me, is at the perfect Goldilocks ratio–not too much (too much means the ink takes too long to dry), not too little (too little, obviously, means you’re often not even writing). I’ve been able to use this pen on normal papers, post-it notes, around the office–and not had to deal with the typical feathering, bleeding, and pooling of ink that accompanies a pen that writes too wetly. Most of my fountain pens aren’t appropriate (-ly functional) for office use; I was surprised that this one would be. Once I switch to a converter with some new ink, we’ll see whether this ability to write and be useful on normal paper is due chiefly to the ink or the nib.

In a world where pens like to give away ink like they're just MADE of dispensing mechanisms overflowing with inkly generosity, ONE NIB KNOWS how to strike the balance between sopping wet and infuriatingly dry.

Unlike some extra fine nibs I’ve dealt with, the Lamy EF nib is never scratchy. Writing is smooth, with the soft and satisfying sound of the nib making contact with the paper as it glides along. Some paper does better than others; the Behance Dot Grid was probably the poorest performer among my papers, and even then it wasn’t too bad. On papers like Rhodia and Clairefontaine, the pen just sails along. It makes me want to write even when I have nothing to say.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this pen. I got to have a fun experience buying it, going to an actual pen store to try the pen out, the pen itself seems to be well constructed and quite aesthetically pleasing, it performs well (and also makes me want to write in cursive), and my biggest beef with the pen is probably something that a better/different grip posture will fix. Welcome, Lamy Vista, into the ranks of my favorite fountain pens (the ranks being divided into two categories: my favorites, and not my favorites).

Parting advice: before letting anyone else hold your pen, be sure to wipe all your fingerprints and dead skin cells off so people won't think you're so gross.



Lamy Vista Fountain Pen – EF Nib at Art Brown International Pen Shop

Rotring Art Pen – Extra Fine (EF) Sketching Nib

24 02 2011

Rumor has it that it is scientifically impossible to not enjoy drawing with this pen.

I’m not really an artist, but I like pretending to be one and buying supplies I don’t need in a bid to guilt myself into making more art (because, jeez, come on, I’ve spent all this money on these THINGS. Gotta use them). And that is why I picked this up for around $18 at Jerry’s Artarama.

Holds pens, ammunition, government secrets...

First off, it comes in this fancy-pants shiny case (which was about 35% of why I bought this pen) that’s just the right amount of minimalist classy, and is (presumably) protective yet lightweight.

Does not completely seal out attacks from lukewarm-hot mint chocolate. Look closely on the lid, and you will see the shadow of what was once delicious.

Opening the case, you find 5 ink cartridges and this neato-looking writing contraption. The body of this pen is in the style of such artist’s tools as paintbrushes or crowquill pens, which is to say, baffling to everyone else. You have opened the lid on some strange and exotic creature just waiting to mark all over your pages.

Now, I started out with five cartridges–only three are pictured. One of these has been co-opted in the improvement of a very inky A.G. Spalding mini fountain pen (but that’s another review); the other was in this pen for a week until my Rotring converter arrived (for the sake of brevity, we’ll do a short review of that later) and now sits beneath a mess of pseudo-sealing tape in a full upright position. They are alright, as far as cartridges go, but they are maddeningly smudgy even far after having dried, and I knew this pen deserved better. Note:

What you're noting is how switching to Noodler's Bulletproof Black on the left side DIDN'T ACTUALLY STOP MY SMUDGING WHOOPS.

I think the smudging problems with the Noodler’s Bulletproof black were mostly due to the ink not being fully dry as I was drawing. But the cartridge ink was getting noticeably smudged through contact with other paper long after that ink was dry. Both inks are a nice, rich black, but I would still recommend a Rotring fountain pen converter if you want to use this pen. The bottle ink just does better.

Just take a gander at this sexy and dangerous looking doodad. This is the only time you'll see that cap attached to that pen

Overall, the pen is made of a nice matte-finish plastic with a sturdy clip and clear, easy-to-identify labeling on the end of the cap so you know which nib pen this is. It seems like such a fancy metal box might have some kind of fancy metal pen inside, but I’m okay with the plastic–it feels durable but not weighty; sometimes I like a pen to have a low profile feel in my hand, and that’s what this pen has.

Where did the cap go? SOMEWHERE YOU'LL NEVER FIND IT AHAHA I AM YOUR PEN AND I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH MY CAP. I flip it so hard that you can't even post it on me. What are you gonna do about it? YEAH LOSE THE CAP THAT'S WHAT YOU'LL DO.

So, as the maniacally abusive pen points out, there’s nowhere to securely post the cap when you want to write. You can put the cap on the narrow end, where it will rattle around until you lose all semblance of rational thought, or you can put it carefully on the table and hope you don’t knock it off, because putting the cap in the fancy silver box and shutting it in there would make too much sense. But seriously, adding an extra, smaller ring inside the cap so that it could post snugly on the narrow end of the pen…would that be so hard? I know the Tachikawa comic pen holders have this feature for their cheap plastic caps…you’d think a nice pen would be able to do them one better. Someone, at some point, had to consciously decide that what users of the Rotring Art Pen would do, when they wanted to write, was to take off the cap and store it in their cheek pouches until it was time to cap the pen again, and that offering a snug way to keep the cap on the other end of the pen just wasn’t a good idea.

Get up close. Look at all that ink I've gotten everywhere. What a hot mess.

I think this pen is more or less true to its advertised word; here is a fountain pen with a fine nib (I will reserve judgment on how extra this fineness might be) that is fun to sketch with. It was a little paper-temperamental in terms of writing quality, but for sketching the differences were negligible. And it was smooth, without being overly inky or wet, which is my biggest problem with some fountain pens.

I tried to follow the JetPens directions regarding refilling a piston-converted fountain pen, but I couldn’t get the ink to draw up through the nib or the entire submerged tip.  I just took the converter out and filled that up when I needed ink.

I love the quality of the line this pen puts out. It has subtle personality. I love the look of this pen–one of understated difference, elegant simplicity. This is a pen for the regular rotation of implements of artistry. My only problem is the cap-posting issue, which I can certainly get over.

Beautiful art pen / writes haikus and rolls away / due to friggin cap

If you’re near a Jerry’s Artarama, I suggest trying to get the Rotring Art Pen through them (because they are an amazing store / wonderland of fabulously priced art supplies). If you are not near a Jerry’s Artarama, try scouring the internet. I don’t know the best place to recommend, unfortunately, since I got my pen in an actual store. :/
Rotring Art Pen at Jerry’s Artarama

Rotring Fountain Pen Converter at JetPens