This is more a mini review of the Lamy Vista and its $2.00 Chinese second cousin twice removed, the Jinhao 599. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Lamy’s in so far as I know they are good pens and therefore feel obliged to have one amongst my collection of demonstrators but ultimately they just don’t inspire me.
So really I just bought the Lamy just to satisfy a brain itch and its cousin just because it was $2.00 and I was curious to know how they would stack up.
So in the interests of fairness I’ve tried to keep the test as even as possible, so each pen was set up as follows:
- Pen and converter were washed, flushed and left to dry.
- The converters were each loaded independently of the pen (to test in flow once installed).
- Montblanc ink was used in both – Irish Green in the Jinhao and Lavender Purple in the Lamy.
- They were both left horizontally and vertically to check for hard starts and skipping.
- Finally they both spent a day at work with me standing in for my Pilot G2’s.
I’m happy to say that I had no skipping and no hard starts, even when accidentally left the cap off the Jinhao for several minutes.
Both pens are made of clear plastic and both pens (minus cap) are very light but the Lamy has the edge in terms of build quality and I think that is purely a result of better material.
The one thing I did notice was that the cap on the Lamy snaps into place more easily than it’s cousin and this leads me to think that the Jinhao will suffer cracking around the edge of the cap before the Lamy but again this could be remedied by using better quality material. Both pens would probably benefit from a metal band to support the edge of the cap.
Straying a little off topic but it is worth mentioning, the converters. The Lamy is easy to use and surprisingly well made, it’s just a shame they don’t make converters in the standard international cartridge model.
As for the Jinhao; in the past they have come in for some less than positive feedback about its converters but this newer version (its design looks to me like it was inspired by Lamy) is very good and certainty better than some of the expensive branded converters I have bought.
Nibs and Feeds:
This is quite straightforward; Lamy has their standard medium nib that lays down a nice wet line and works quite smoothly on the standard papers tested. The Jinhao has a standard nib (a fine in this case) and a transparent feed; it puts down a good line of ink and writes smoothly on standard papers. The one thing I did like about the Jinhao was being able to see the feed take on the colour of the ink.
Other than the variation in line size both were a pleasure to use and gave me no problems in day to day use.
Which would I recommend? I’d say given the relatively low cost of each pen, buy both.
If you buy the Lamy buy the converter to go with it; it’ll make you a good everyday pen and/or a good pen for trying out different nibs.
However, if you are not sure or want to save your budget for then buy the Jinhao, it comes with a converter and it will make a good everyday pen.
Disclaimer: Both pens were purchased, from Amazon, with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailer or manufacturer in any way.