Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Comparing the Lamy Al-Star, Safari, and Vista

It's a common question, what's the difference between the Lamy Vista, Safari, and Al-Star? I remember asking the same thing in my early fountain pen days, because I would read about these popular pens all the time. These are all staple pens in the fountain pen community with a loyal following. This video is intended to clarify exactly what each pen offers and what sets them apart from each other.

Here are the main differences:
  • The Safari and Vista are the exact same pen, except the Vista is clear
  • The Safari and Al-Star are (essentially) the same dimensions, the Al-Star is a hair bigger in diameter but not noticeably
  • The Al-Star is made of aluminum and the Safari is made of plastic, the aluminum tends to dent and scratch a little easier than the plastic
  • The grips on the Safari and Vista match the rest of the pen, the Al-Stars all have smoky translucent grips regardless of color
  • The Al-Star is slightly heavier (22g) than the Safari and Vista (17g)
  • The Vista only has a silver clip, the Safari and Al-Star both have silver and black clips, depending on the color of the pen (the clips are not interchangeable)
  • All Lamy pens (except the Lamy 2000) have interchangeable Lamy nibs in EF, F, M, B (both steel and black) and 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm italics (steel only)
  • Both the Safari and Al-Star come in a range of colors, and Lamy releases limited edition colors for both on a regular basis
  • All three pens accept both the Z24 and Z26 Lamy converters, as well as proprietary Lamy ink cartridges
  • The Safari and Vista both sell for $37 (list, US) and the Al-Star sells for $47 (list, US)

This should help to clear things up! If I missed anything, let me know in the comments.

Write On,
Brian Goulet 


  1. Thanks for clearing that up. I have the Apple Green Safari and I think my next purchase might be the Vista. I love a clear pen.

  2. Are the grip sections interchangeable? I like the feel (as well as the look) of my Al-Star grip, and have thought about swapping it into a different pen body for more color choices. If they are swappable, are there cheaper options to getting a Al-Star grip for a Safari pen body than buying the whole pen just for it's grip section?

  3. Technically you can swap them, but the black ring on the pen is on the body on the Al-Star, and the grip of the Vista/Safari. You can actually swap them and cap the pens, but they'll look pretty weird b/c the ink window won't line up, and you'll also end up with no black ring on the Safari/Vista, and two of them on the Al-Star. This would have been nice to show in the video had I thought about it! Dangit, there's always something that I find would have been good to include once I post my videos!

    So the short answer would be yes it's possible, but it's not going to be ideal.

  4. Thanks for this comparison.
    I've been daydreaming lately about there being a Lamy 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9 mm italic nib offered in Black color.

    If that would be an option, I would buy it in a heartbeat and put it on my matte black lamy safari and turn in completely stealth.

    I did that to my black konrad, and put a black 1.1 monteverde nib there and the thing looks *awesome*. I tried to paint over the chrome clip and cap band with a permanent marker but it didn't stick, so I need something stronger :)

  5. You're not the only one to daydream about black Lamy italics, but they don't exist. If they ever start making them we'll definitely carry them! But I wouldn't get your hopes up too high, I haven't heard anything about this being in the works.

    Nice job on your Konrad though, I bet that looks awesome!

  6. I would suggest including the Joy with the Safari and Vista.

  7. Yay!! Thanks for doing the vid on this Brian! Very informative and makes things a lot clearer for me (I was sold a Lamy Al-star as a Safari at a local store so there began the confusion for me...)

  8. If I had read something like this before I got my Vista, I would have been far better informed! Could you do a video on the oblique Lamy nibs? I didn't know they made any until I rotated my Vista feed, and got a comment mentioning obliques. I googled & found an oblique medium, but on FPN someone mentioned a broad as well. Might be just the thing for people who don't get on with the Safari/Vista/All-Star grip!

  9. I just bought a Lamy Safari but I'm not sure whether it's legit? It looks exactly like the usual Lamys but it's matte black, has no ink window, black clip, smoke grip like the all star and black nib. I was told its a limited edition. Can you confirm this? It was bought from a well known retailer.

  10. Sounds like a carbon black edition, should be fine. There is a fake safari being produced now so be careful when buying them. You can see some comparison photos here: http://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread.php/10263-Fake-Lamy-Safaris-on-eBay


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