This review's a special one because this time, there's two reviews in one post! That's double the fun!
Charcoal Lamy Safari F Nib
First, let's start with the Lamy Safari. This is my first fountain pen that I can actually use with bottled ink without modding anything except switching converters. (My dad won't let me mod anything since he thinks all I'm going to make is a mess...)I chose to buy a charcoal-colored Lamy because I was afraid the regular plastic version of the pen would feel...cheap in my hands and I wouldn't like it – I wouldn't know what the plastic version's like anyway. The pen body has a matte finish with a black clip that is pretty sturdy when clipped onto something. The cap and the pen weigh almost the same so when taken off and left aside, the pen is pretty light: something I'm not too fond of. I like having a bit of weight in my pens. When the cap's on top of the pen, although a bit top heavy, it balances out the weight in the pen.
As for the nib, the main feature of the pen, it writes smoothly and lays down a nice, solid line. The nib's slightly scratchy, but nothing that detracts the quality of the pen. Depending on the type of ink you're using, it may or may not dry fast. I'm using a piston converter for bottled ink. I haven't used the blue cartridge that comes with the pen.
I'm no connoisseur of fine writing instruments nor do I have much experience with fountain pens, but the Lamy Safari is a very nice, reasonably priced starter fountain pen that gives you a bit more than what you paid for (in this case, close to $30 with a converter). It's a good pen especially if you don't want to shell out lots of money on an exquisite fountain pen.
J. Herbin: Eclat de Saphir
(Picture is from Jetpens.com)
I won this bottle of ink in a giveaway held by Rhodia Drive back in September along with two other bottles of ink. I haven't had a pen to load the ink in since then, so here's the long overdue review of it.
(Written on a Rhodia No. 12 pad)
The only concern I have about the ink is the drying time for it. When it first hits paper, you can see a bit of ink where you end the line of the letter you're writing. Since the ink's wet when it first hits paper, it might lead to a bit of smudging (as shown in the sample).
Overall, the pen and the ink are a very nice combination: charcoal black and sapphire blue. The ink and the fine nib is a good combination and it makes for a fine writing experience.