Playing Around with the Pilot (Namiki) Falcon Soft Extra-Fine

I think just about every fountain pen fan has seen what a custom-ground extra-fine Namiki Falcon can do, and if you haven’t check it out here. That video has >3.5 million views, even people I know that aren’t into fountain pens ask me about it! When I heard Pilot was coming out with a resin Falcon in a soft extra-fine nib, I was really, really excited to see how it stacked up.

I’ve used the soft extra-fine nib on the Pilot Metal Falcon, and it is awesome. The nib on the brand-new rhodium-trim Pilot Falcon is identical, and everything I hoped it would be. For $144, this pen surely will be the new standard for gold flex nibs for those that want the most line variation without going with something custom. I threw the macro lens on my Canon 5DMk3 and just had a blast. No music or fancy frills, this video is all just to show you what a hack like me can do with a completely non-custom Pilot Falcon soft extra-fine.

And if you’re confused by my title, Pilot is rebranding the Namiki line to now be “Pilot Fine Writing”, so the Falcons will be transitioning over from the Namiki name to the Pilot name. All of the super-high-end Namiki pens will stay Namiki (like the Sterling collection), but the Falcons will all become Pilot branded eventually.

This video is a bit of an experiment for me, so I’d love to hear what you think. Enjoy!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T14:20:23+00:00 December 26th, 2013|Pen Reviews|73 Comments
  • David

    Wow, this pen is amazing, the quality of its flexible tip is great, definitely a good choice of writing.

    • Yeah, this is definitely a joy to use. I could shoot videos like this all day long πŸ˜‰

  • David

    Wow, this pen is amazing, the quality of its flexible tip is great, definitely a good choice of writing.

  • Myke N

    Wow. Looks awesome. How much pressure is required to get it to flex compared to other flex (or soft) nibs?

    • I don’t have any good way to measure, other than to say ‘not much’ πŸ˜‰ If you’re familiar with the Namiki Falcon at all it’s going to feel a lot like that, which is pretty darn soft (though flex ‘purists’ will not call it a wet noodle). For the average Joe, this pen will be more flexible than probably anything you’ve ever used, to get more than this you’re going to either need to get something custom ground by a nibmeister to have flex added, or have a vintage wet noodle nib that’s been broken in over many decades. This nib is about as good as it gets for a new flex nib.

      • Myke N

        Yeah, I suppose it was a rather difficult question to answer. Sorry about that.

        Difficult question aside, you answered it in a way I found easy to understand. I would certainly put myself in the “average Joe” category on this subject. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer a “n00b’s” question. πŸ™‚

        • Good! It’s always hard to describe subjective stuff like this. Glad I was able to make it clear enough πŸ™‚

  • Myke N

    Wow. Looks awesome. How much pressure is required to get it to flex compared to other flex (or soft) nibs?

  • Yeah, this is definitely a joy to use. I could shoot videos like this all day long πŸ˜‰

  • I don't have any good way to measure, other than to say 'not much' πŸ˜‰ If you're familiar with the Namiki Falcon at all it's going to feel a lot like that, which is pretty darn soft (though flex 'purists' will not call it a wet noodle). For the average Joe, this pen will be more flexible than probably anything you've ever used, to get more than this you're going to either need to get something custom ground by a nibmeister to have flex added, or have a vintage wet noodle nib that's been broken in over many decades. This nib is about as good as it gets for a new flex nib.

  • BBurgess

    That was fun to watch a unique way of writing American/Japanese katakana.

  • BBurgess

    That was fun to watch a unique way of writing American/Japanese katakana.

  • Myke N

    Yeah, I suppose it was a rather difficult question to answer. Sorry about that.

    Difficult question aside, you answered it in a way I found easy to understand. I would certainly put myself in the "average Joe" category on this subject. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer a "n00b's" question. πŸ™‚

  • John m

    What ink did you use?

  • John m

    What ink did you use?

  • Good! It's always hard to describe subjective stuff like this. Glad I was able to make it clear enough πŸ™‚

  • Mike Khashaiar Kojoori

    I appreciate the closeup demonstration of the nib’s performance. PS, I’m strictly a Noodler’s user. Do you think a Japanese EF nib will pose flow problems, when compared to a Western EF nib? Does the feed on this pen keep up with faster writing? Lastly, how does this rank with the Pilot Justus? The whole reason I held back on these types of pens, was because of the gold trim.

    • You can use whatever ink you want in here (as long as it’s fountain pen ink) and you’ll be just fine. Before making this video I’d inked it up with Noodler’s Black and it flowed great. I haven’t had a problem with flow when writing quickly, though this super-fine EF nib does get a little scratchy when I write too fast. But that has nothing to do with the ink or its flow.

    • soniasimone

      In my experience ink flow in the Falcon is superb, no matter how much you flex. More reliable than the noodler’s, which have been variable for me.

  • Mike Khashaiar Kojoori

    I appreciate the closeup demonstration of the nib's performance. PS, I'm strictly a Noodler's user. Do you think a Japanese EF nib will pose flow problems, when compared to a Western EF nib? Does the feed on this pen keep up with faster writing?

  • I showed the name briefly in the video, but cut it down pretty short due to time constraints, it was Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, my favorite color in their lineup: http://www.gouletpens.com/Pilot_Iroshizuku_Kon_peki_50ml_Ink_p/pn69212.htm

  • Cool! Glad you liked it πŸ™‚

  • You can use whatever ink you want in here (as long as it's fountain pen ink) and you'll be just fine. Before making this video I'd inked it up with Noodler's Black and it flowed great. I haven't had a problem with flow when writing quickly, though this super-fine EF nib does get a little scratchy when I write too fast. But that has nothing to do with the ink or its flow.

  • Kenneth Hershberger

    How does the rhodium nib compare with the earlier gold nib? I’ve got Falcons in SF, SM, and SB gold nibs and I’m wondering if there’s any difference with the new rhodium nib.

    • Tom Johnson

      I think this is a gold nib that is rhodium plated, like the Lamy 2000 nib. Brian, is this correct?

      • That is correct, the only difference is the color. It’s the same 14k gold nib, but plated in rhodium to give it a silver color. The rhodium will perhaps be slightly more scratch resistant since it’s a tougher metal, but it’s probably a marginal difference. Nib performance is exactly the same between the rhodium and gold.

  • Kenneth Hershberger

    How does the rhodium nib compare with the earlier gold nib? I've got Falcons in SF, SM, and SB gold nibs and I'm wondering if there's any difference with the new rhodium nib.

  • Tom Johnson

    Great demo Brian. I was fiddling with my sound settings for a minute until I heard the soft sound of the nib on the paper! I would love to see how this pen writes when using cursive. After seeing YouTube videos of wet noodle pens, I’m so glad that something similar is being introduced into the fountain pen world in a new pen.

    • I did do a little cursive in here, skip to 1:48.

  • Tom Johnson

    Great demo Brian. I was fiddling with my sound settings for a minute until I heard the soft sound of the nib on the paper! I would love to see how this pen writes when using cursive. After seeing YouTube videos of wet noodle pens, I'm so glad that something similar is being introduced into the fountain pen world in a new pen.

  • Tom Johnson

    I think this is a gold nib that is rhodium plated, like the Lamy 2000 nib. Brian, is this correct?

  • Phil

    A very impressive pen and an awesome demonstration of its capabilities. Really looking forward to making my way up to Goulet tomorrow, very fortunate to live in the area.

    • A lot of people just got jealous of you right now πŸ˜‰

      • Doug

        He lives there?! Arrrgh… Arrrrgh again.
        On second thought, FedEx delivers anywhere – tomorrow.
        Ok, I’m better now.
        Whew… that was close.

  • Phillip Tracy

    A very impressive pen and an awesome demonstration of its capabilities. Really looking forward to making my way up to Goulet tomorrow, very fortunate to live in the area.

  • Anchit Rao

    Very nice technique, was that some variation of Gothic script? Or was that style unique to you? Decided that I’d get myself a Rhodium trim Falcon as a late Christmas present. What nib would you recommend for quick note-taking during lectures? A nib that will lay down a smooth line, and can keep up with a relatively fast writing speed while not splashing too much ink on the paper.

    • That is a ‘made it up on the spot’ technique πŸ˜‰ I was just messing around and thought of doing that. The extra-fine will probably be too fine for you, it’s an awesome nib but doesn’t feel great on the paper when writing fast (notice how slow I went in the video). The soft fine is noticeably better, and the medium is better yet in terms of smoothness. I think you’ll be deciding between the fine and medium, fine if you plan to flex more often, medium if you plan not to flex as often. I have a soft medium I’ve been using for a couple of years, and that’s a great pen to use mainly as a daily writer. The fine will give you greater variation when you flex, so it’s really going to be a judgment call on your part which you think will be best for you. I’ll have a video coming out today (12/27/13) that compares the soft extra-fine and soft fine, look out for that.

  • Anchit Rao

    Very nice technique, was that some variation of Gothic script? Or was that style unique to you? Decided that I'd get myself a Rhodium trim Falcon as a late Christmas present. What nib would you recommend for quick note-taking during lectures? A nib that will lay down a smooth line, and can keep up with a relatively fast writing speed while not splashing too much ink on the paper.

  • Da

    I dumped mine eventually. The scratch (clearly heard) is felt and I found horrible. The medium nib is acceptably smooth but way broader.

    • It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. What you gain in flex you give up in smoothness, especially if you have a heavy hand (like me) and write fast. To be fair, the reason the sound of the nib is so pronounced in this video is because I wanted it to be, I had my microphone just off-screen, literally on the page I was writing on. I even adjusted the audio to increase the nib sound. You don’t hear it at all when sitting in a normal writing posture.

      • Da

        1. It is clearly audible when writing.
        2. To me, it sounds awful. Just like those nasty cheap pens?

        For me it was too much Brian. It sits largely unused in my ‘back catalogue, with 3 Konrads. Flexible… Nah thanks.
        Now…. the Platinum 3776 soft fine….. Now you’re talking. They know how to make a soft nib. Very fine too.

        • Ginigin

          If you are not using it, would you like to sell it? Since I can’t get a new one now, maybe I could give yours a good home. πŸ™‚

          • Da

            Quite willing to sell. Unwilling to put my email on a public page – Brian has my email?

          • Ginigin

            are you on FPN? I am ginigin there. Otherwise i’ll email brian to see if he will send you my email.

          • Da, we don’t have your email (at least not linked to your nickname on here), but feel free to email us and we’ll get you two connected if you haven’t already.

    • soniasimone

      I have a (mottishaw custom) flex falcon, and it scritches. I like it. It’s not scratchy like a cheap pen to me, it’s just a different writing experience.

      I’m using it for a big writing project but I’m not using the flex as much as I could — time to start some experimentation! That ink color is killing me, too, just added a sample to my cart.

  • Da

    I dumped mine eventually. The scratch (clearly heard) is felt and I found horrible. The medium nib is acceptably smooth but way broader.

  • David

    I have the resin Namiki Falcon in my collection. I also have some true “wet noodle” vintage flex pens. While the Falcon does flex, there is no comparison with true vintage flex. I would call the Falcon nib semi-flex – at best.

    • Of course. But break this pen in for 60-80 years and I’ll bet it’ll be a pretty wet noodle too! This definitely isn’t meant to be a wet noodle (a subjective term), but for the average pen user who isn’t familiar with flex nibs, this pen will be a great introduction into the flexing concept.

  • David

    I have the resin Namiki Falcon in my collection. I also have some true "wet noodle" vintage flex pens. While the Falcon does flex, there is no comparison with true vintage flex. I would call the Falcon nib semi-flex – at best.

  • That is correct, the only difference is the color. It's the same 14k gold nib, but plated in rhodium to give it a silver color. The rhodium will perhaps be slightly more scratch resistant since it's a tougher metal, but it's probably a marginal difference. Nib performance is exactly the same between the rhodium and gold.

  • I did do a little cursive in here, skip to 1:48.

  • A lot of people just got jealous of you right now πŸ˜‰

  • That is a 'made it up on the spot' technique πŸ˜‰ I was just messing around and thought of doing that. The extra-fine will probably be too fine for you, it's an awesome nib but doesn't feel great on the paper when writing fast (notice how slow I went in the video). The soft fine is noticeably better, and the medium is better yet in terms of smoothness. I think you'll be deciding between the fine and medium, fine if you plan to flex more often, medium if you plan not to flex as often. I have a soft medium I've been using for a couple of years, and that's a great pen to use mainly as a daily writer. The fine will give you greater variation when you flex, so it's really going to be a judgment call on your part which you think will be best for you. I'll have a video coming out today (12/27/13) that compares the soft extra-fine and soft fine, look out for that.

  • It's not for everyone, that's for sure. What you gain in flex you give up in smoothness, especially if you have a heavy hand (like me) and write fast. To be fair, the reason the sound of the nib is so pronounced in this video is because I wanted it to be, I had my microphone just off-screen, literally on the page I was writing on. I even adjusted the audio to increase the nib sound. You don't hear it at all when sitting in a normal writing posture.

  • Of course. But break this pen in for 60-80 years and I'll bet it'll be a pretty wet noodle too! This definitely isn't meant to be a wet noodle (a subjective term), but for the average pen user who isn't familiar with flex nibs, this pen will be a great introduction into the flexing concept.

  • Da

    1. It is clearly audible when writing.
    2. To me, it sounds awful. Just like those nasty cheap pens?

    For me it was too much Brian. It sits largely unused in my 'back catalogue, with 3 Konrads. Flexible… Nah thanks.
    Now…. the Platinum 3776 soft fine….. Now you're talking. They know how to make a soft nib. Very fine too.

  • Tom Johnson

    Brian, I have two Konrads and would like to know if these soft nibs take measurably less pressure to flex than the Noodler’s flex nibs. Can you compare the Noodler’s with the Pilot flex nibs? Subjective of course! I don’t need a force gauge and fixtures.

    • They do take less force than Noodler’s nibs, though it’s not like night and day. I’ll honestly just have to sit down and do a side-by-side one of these days, I’ve been meaning to forever now…

  • Tom Johnson

    Brian, I have two Konrads and would like to know if these soft nibs take measurably less pressure to flex than the Noodler's flex nibs. Can you compare the Noodler's with the Pilot flex nibs? Subjective of course! I don't need a force gauge and fixtures.

  • soniasimone

    I have a (mottishaw custom) flex falcon, and it scritches. I like it. It's not scratchy like a cheap pen to me, it's just a different writing experience.

    I'm using it for a big writing project but I'm not using the flex as much as I could — time to start some experimentation! That ink color is killing me, too, just added a sample to my cart.

  • soniasimone

    In my experience ink flow in the Falcon is superb, no matter how much you flex. More reliable than the noodler's, which have been variable for me.

  • They do take less force than Noodler's nibs, though it's not like night and day. I'll honestly just have to sit down and do a side-by-side one of these days, I've been meaning to forever now…

  • Doug

    He lives there?! Arrrgh… Arrrrgh again.
    On second thought, FedEx delivers anywhere – tomorrow.
    Ok, I'm better now.
    Whew… that was close.

  • Hawiianpnch

    Absolutely stunning.

  • Hawiianpnch

    Absolutely stunning.

  • Ginigin

    If you are not using it, would you like to sell it? Since I can't get a new one now, maybe I could give yours a good home. πŸ™‚

  • Da

    Quite willing to sell. Unwilling to put my email on a public page – Brian has my email?

  • Ginigin

    are you on FPN? I am ginigin there. Otherwise i'll email brian to see if he will send you my email.

  • MrsGouletPens

    Da, we don't have your email (at least not linked to your nickname on here), but feel free to email us and we'll get you two connected if you haven't already.

  • From the video, the variation of the downstroke seems like you’re using much more pressure than I would feel comfortable/safe pushing it to? By chance have you ever worked with vintage flex in terms of having some kind of basis of how much is ‘too much’ ?