Here we have my current favorite pen, the Pilot Prera. There is very little to be said that isn’t positive about this pen. I’m a Pilot fangirl. Since 03/12/2015 (my very first JetPens order), I have tried TWSBI, Jinhao, and Visconti pens. This little guy is still my best writer. I think that says something right there.
The only “cons” I can think of are
- this pen is on the small side, even posted
- it has a small barrel and it causes me to get hand cramps sometimes
- it did not come with a converter, which it should at this price point
Those are some pretty nit-picky points. Onto the good stuff, because honestly I could gush about this pen, and my Kakuno for hours. Prera model fountain pens come in a variety of colors and even in demonstrators which means there’s one for you if you look. My soft blue model is pretty classy looking and appropriate for office use. The nib is steel but I’ve never had it dry out or skip or hard start in the three years since I purchased this little workhorse. Not once.
As a workhorse pen, the small form factor could be a problem for anyone with larger hands. It is very light and I do find myself sometimes pressing harder than I should. The pen doesn’t mind the abuse and I don’t think I even have any scratches on it. It has a durable finish and I don’t have to worry about damaging it. With a con-40 I can swap out inks easily, but Pilot cartridges are nice and the colors (especially the purple) are always nice. Pilot’s black ink is one of my favorite blacks, since there can be some oddities to that shade depending on the brand. In these pictures it’s inked up with Pilot’s Iroshizuku – Ajisai. One of my favorite colors, it’s much prettier in a broader nib but it works well to match this guy so I don’t mind the lighter color.
All in all, it really comes down to this: this pen has been a steadfast, reliable pen for the last 3 years and I’m pretty sure it will continue on in the same fashion. The nib is hands down the best steel nib I’ve used. It’s a great starter pen and holds up to more expensive models as well. The Pilot brand is well known for a reason. Which brings us to…
The Pilot Kakuno
The Kakuno is a fun pen, and I highly recommend it to anyone just starting out. While having quite an interesting and cute look, it is a durable and honestly pretty cheap pen that when comparing even with my favorite, the Prera, packs far more value for the price. I love my Prera but I actively reach for my Kakuno more often because it is a more comfortable pen.
This particular model has the EF nib and boy is it extra fine. My camera had trouble getting a non-blurry picture because of how thin the lines were and I finally gave up. The photo above is the best I could do with my writing sample.
Seriously look how tiny it writes! I love the smiley/winky faces on these nibs. They can be swapped into some of the other models as well.
Some people might be a little turned off by its appearance but this is probably the best beginner pen I can think of for anyone who wants a Japanese fountain pen but doesn’t want to pay a high price tag. You get all the quality of Pilot pens in a very cute form factor. I just love Pilot’s fountain pens. They’re great and you can get a solid pen that is going to cause you no problems whatever your budget or taste is.