Tag Archives: comparisons

Scan of 7 new Diamine colors

5 Aug

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Today I received a package of 30 Diamine inks. In that package was 7 of the 8 new Diamine colors. Since I know several people are anxious to see what they look like I quickly swabbed and dip tested each one. There will be full length reviews just as soon as I can manage it. My favorite so far is Asa Blue.

Red Dragon: Appears brighter in this scan than in person
Oxblood: true to color
Syrah: true to color
Evergreen: a little too yellow here, but very close to true
Green/Black: a little too much blue
Asa Blue: true to color
Twilight: true to color

(Click to enlarge and sharpen the photo, but be forewarned, the image is huge)

These samples were sent to me by the good folks at Diamine. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.


Iroshizuku Yama Budo vs. Noodler’s Saguaro Wine

4 Aug

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This is the first installment in my Iroshizuku segment. Before I begin let me add a disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

Yama Budo is one of my favorite Iroshizuku inks. It is a deep rich sort of mauve color. It is very reminiscent of grapes and wine. As with all the Iroshizuku Inks it is very well-behaved. The only problem for me is the price. Of the inks I have tried, Noodler’s Saguaro Wine comes the closest to being a substitute for Yama Budo. It is almost the exact color except that SW is a bit brighter and pinker than YB which is matte-er and redder than SW. As you can see from the scanned reviews, depending on the pen these two inks can be largely indistinguishable.

Here is a quick comparison card. Swabs have a way of highlighting the differences between similar inks, but those differences diminish when you run the inks through fountain pens.

Saguaro Wine is

  • Pinker and brighter (try mixing in a little red to get the color closer to YB)
  • Higher saturated
  • Slower drying (you can fix this by adding a little water to SW)
  • Smears on Rhodia paper (you can fix this by adding a little water to SW)

Reviews for each (click to enlarge the pictures):

All images were scanned in at 600dpi and then compressed. All images were adjusted in the exact same fashion.

Other suggestions for substitutes (from FPN):

  • Private Reserve Plum
  • J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen
  • Diamine Claret
  • Rohrer & Klingner Magenta
  • Caran d’Ache Storm

If you have a moment please leave some feedback. Do you like this set up? Is there some other information you want me to include? Do you know of another substitute?

Thanks for looking. No Affil.


Pilot Iroshizuku!

2 Aug

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This post marks the beginning of an Iroshizuku segment. I’ve got 8 samples and 2 bottles of Iroshi to get through. This ink is truly amazing. It is fantastic stuff. The colors on the whole are quite unique.

As mentioned in the Iroshizuku Price Hike and Finding Affordable Substitutes post, this ink now has an MSRP of $35 (you can find it for $28 at JetPens). I personally refuse to spend that much on a bottle of ink, so I’m on the look out for suitable (and cheaper) alternatives. So, the format for these reviews is going to be  a bit different. First, I’m going to review the Iroshi ink, then I’m going to show you an alternative to it if I’ve found one.

I hope you will enjoy it. In the meantime, let me show you a scan of the 10 Iroshi inks in question. NOTE: you might need something to catch your drool…

(You can click to enlarge this photo, but be forewarned, it is HUGE.)

Note2: The bottom and side portions are written using a Speedball B-5 1/2 dip pen nib. It writes just like a western broad nib. The paper is from a Rhodia N° 18 Blank pad.

No Affil.


Red Comparison

22 Jul

This post originally appeared on The Ink Nouveau, but since I use this blog as an archive I thought it best to put it up here as well.

(Click on any photo to view a larger size)

When Brian put out a request for guest reviewer I immediately volunteered. Since the J. Herbin 1670 ink had just launched I thought it would be worthwhile to do a comparison of red inks from a few of the manufacturers he carries. Brian sent me a sample of every ink reviewed here except the Diamine Monaco Red. I already owned that one. Apart from being a customer of his I am not otherwise affiliated with Brian. I am also not affiliated with any of the manufacturers reviewed herein.

Diamine Classic Red:

Dia Classic Red Card

I must admit that this was by far my least favorite of the bunch. It is the only one that misbehaved on my everyday paper: HP LaserJet 24lbs. However, it does perform well on Rhodia, Clairefontaine, etc. If you plan to use this ink plan to use it with premium papers. The shading is quite good and the flow is excellent. I’m not much on the color, but the name is fitting. It is a dullish medium red.

Caran d’ Ache Sunset:


This is an attractive pinkish red. It is the outlier in this group. None of the others exhibit this pink quality. This ink is the driest feeling of the bunch. But, has some of the best shading, and it is one of the fastest drying.

Private Reserve Dakota Red:

PR Dakota Card

This is a brightish medium red. When I researched this ink I found some complaints of the ink clogging pens and/or throwing precipitants. When I informed Brian of this he told me the ink has been reformulated, so I decided to test it out for a while. I put it in a Platinum Preppy and left it to sit for one and a half weeks. I am happy to report that there was NO CLOGGING and NO PRECIPITANTS.

Believe it or not, this ink is actually the best behaved out of the bunch. There is some shading, and it is fast drying. It flows well, and it is pretty good so far as lubrication is concerned. In addition, it is one of the least saturated, but also the most water-resistant. All in all not a bad ink.

Diamine Monaco Red:


This ink is from my own personal stash. I tend to use it for grading because its brick red blood color is dark enough to be easy on the eyes, but still red enough to catch the students’ attention. It is very well-behaved even on cheap student paper. I prefer it in an extra-fine or fine nib, but in a wider nib you get lots more shading.

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite:

JH 1670 Card

Now for the ink of the moment! This ink is FANTASTIC! I have to say that I’m not the biggest red ink fan in the world, but as soon as I got this ink down on paper I was enamored. Furthermore, of the inks Brian sent to me this is the only one I went out and purchased (Brian is expecting a shipment soon. Until then, make sure to contact him to be placed on the waitlist). The color is similar to that of fresh blood. I’d describe it as a red-orange mixed with maroon. It’s very appealing. It’s also quite vibrant, but not unpleasantly so. It has the best flow and lubrication of the inks compared here. It is also the most saturated, which is surprising for J. Herbin. Unfortunately, because of that saturation this ink is slow drying and it remains smudge-able long after it is dry. Do note that this is a limited edition ink, so if you want some you may want to act fast!


Below are a couple comparison shots and a picture of the water test. I apologize in advance for the colors. I simply could not get these comparisons to display all the reds accurately. Please refer to the card shots above for more accurate representations of these inks.

Red Rhodia Comp

Red Pupitre Comp

Red water test


Dizzypen Guest Blog on The Ink Nouveau

22 Jul

Hello all,

I did a Guest blog for Brian of The Goulet Pen Company. He has posted it up on his blog. You can check it out at http://www.inknouveau.com/2010/07/dizzypen-guest-blog-reds.html .

In that post I’ve reviewed and compared J. Herbin 1670, Diamine Monaco Red, Diamine Classic Red, PR Dakota Red, and Caran d’Ache Sunset.

The photos are a little dark. I apologize for that. For some reason Flickr darkened them a shade or two. The files on my computer are lighter. I don’t know what’s up with that.

Take care, Dizzy.

Pink-Orange/Orange Comparison

1 Mar

Finally, I had a bit of sunlight coming through my window so I could get a good picture of this sheet. These colors are difficult to photograph, but I’ve done my best, and they seem pretty true to color to me.

pink orange comp

  • Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki. This is a red-orange, but there is something coral/pink about it in my eyes. I like it very much.
  • Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm. What a fun color! I don’t know what I’d use it for, but it is visually appealing. Definitely a Pink-Orange color.
  • Diamine Coral. This is surprisingly similar to Dragon’s Napalm. It is, however, a bit more orange. Still quite a nice pink orange.
  • JH Orange Indien. This is one of my favorite oranges. Seems a straight orange to me. Very little red.
  • Iroshizuku Yu-Yake. This has a little more red to it than Orange Indien. It does not photograph well here. Quite a lovely orange.
  • Private Reserve Orange Crush. I think my bottle may be turning a bit, which is a problem with this ink. It was a bit more orange several years ago, now it’s an orange-brown sort of color. I still like it though.

Dark/Dusky purples

12 Feb

Well, just to round out my week in purples I’ve decided to post a comparison photo of some of the dark and/or dusky purples I’ve used in the past several months.


  • I’m not such a big fan of Noodler’s Purple Wampum. It can be a bit feathery, but the color is great!
  • PR Ebony Purple is my go to purple for when I want something bordering on black, but not black.
  • Mont Blanc Violet has great sentimental value for me. My husband gifted me this ink on our wedding day. I have two bottles of it and only use it on occasion. It is one of the best looking red leaning purples I’ve found.
  • JH Poussiere de Lune is gorgeous and performs flawlessly.
  • I have a love hate relationship with Diamine Damson. I like the color in the right pen, but I find the ink to be a bit dry feeling at times.
  • Diamine Amazing Amethyst is probably my favorite purple right now. It is basically the perfect gray purple that leans blue. There is nothing like it!

New Diamine Inks

16 Dec

My shipment arrived today and I am VERY pleased with my purchases. VERY. Here they are:


Amazing Amethyst is indeed amazing! I love this color. This is actually exactly the purple ink I’ve been looking for. It is medium dark and is purple with a slight bit of grey to it. It is completely different than Damson which was a bit too grey and mauve for me though still a nice color. This Amazing Amethyst is going to be my Edison ink. (I should have my pen in 2 weeks) I really wish they would make this a regular ink and sell it in the big bottles.

I really like the Lavender as. It is good and bright. It reminds me of Waterman Violet or Levenger Amethyst.

Marine is a gorgeous blue-green. It is almost exactly like Steel Blue except it is probably 50% less green and a couple shades lighter. So all of you who didn’t like Steel Blue because it is too green might like Marine.

Pelikan M205 Blue Demonstrator

20 Nov

Pel M205 Posted and Ink

First Impressions

The freely admit that this was an impulse buy. I found it on sale at such a great price that I could not walk away from it despite the fact that it is a demonstrator and I generally hate demonstrators. Still, when I opened up the box I was instantly attracted to the pen

This pen is small, there is no denying that, but the blue color of the plastic is very attractive. In my opinion, it helps class the pen up a bit. If it were just clear plastic I think it would look quite cheap. I also appreciate the silver-colored furniture. I find gold trim positively revolting except when it is on a vintage black pen. Some have described the plastic as “cheap looking,” and I don’t entirely disagree, but considering the price of this pen I can get over it. 😉


Pel M205 Blue

The dimensions of this pen are as follows: 4 7/8” capped, 5 7/8” posted, and 4 3/4” unposted. This pen is quite small and incredibly light weighing in at about 1/2 oz. (16-17g) inked to capacity!

The design of the pen is simple. It does not vary from the rest of the M2xx line except in terms of finishes. This is not a design that excites me, but it is functional. As one would expect from Pelikan, the pen is well constructed. Despite it’s plasticy-ness (new word?!) it feels quite solid. I don’t feel as though I have to handle this pen with great care.

One thing I don’t like is that I have to post the cap. If I don’t, this small pen is not comfortable in the hand. With the cap posted the pen feels well-balanced.


Pel F steel Nib

This pen has a fine nib on it. This was not my choice. This was the only option available to me at the price I paid. The M205 uses the same steel nib as the M215. It is available in XF, F, M, and B. This steel fine nib is springy and quite smooth though still a little tactile on the page. Out of the box, the nib wrote a bit dry, but I adjusted the flow a little and now it is fairly juicy. I’m surprised at how much I’m liking this nib now.

I’m not a big fan of fine nibs, so I was going to send it to Chartpak for an exchange. However, I’ve decided to keep this nib. I figure I need a good fine nib and I can always buy a replacement for $30. I can even spring for a Binder Stub (.8mm) for $50.

Filling System
Now, this is the real reason I bought this pen. This little guy is a piston filler and I wanted another one for my little accumulation. The more I use them the more I realize that the piston filling system is my favorite of all. As others have noted, the Pelikan filling system is quite smooth in operation and boy does it suck! (which is a good thing for FPs) This pen holds about 2ml. of ink, which combined with the fine nib, makes for quite a lot of writing between fills. I have nothing bad to say!

Cost and Value

You can find these online for anything from $95 to $75. If you are in the market for a used one you might be able for find one in the $60 range. I’d say this is a pretty good buy even at $90, but if you can find it for $60 you’ll really have an excellent bargain on your hands.

Conclusion (9/10, A-)
While I didn’t expect it, I think I quite like this little pen. I can see this fitting right into my rotation as a great school and annotation pen especially with this great ink capacity. I’d certainly recommend this pen to anyone looking for an inexpensive, practical, and functional piston filling pen.

pel est lev compare
The perspective is a little wonky in this photo. The M205 is about the same size as the Esterbrook J next to it. Both are dwarfed by the Levenger Plumpster.

No Affil.

Noodler’s Bad Blue Heron

17 Nov

It’s been a while since I’ve done a review, but I’ve been swamped with work. It takes time to put these things together; time I have not had of late. HOWEVER, since I was able to get my hands on a bottle of Noodler’s Bad Blue Heron, I thought I might as well put a review up.

I bought this ink because a. someone on FPN described it as looking like the Crayola Cerulean crayon and that was always my favorite color in the box b. this is a darker bulletproof ink and I’ve been looking for one of those. I have not been disappointed.

Firstly the color. This ink does look a bit like Cerulean crayons when it is wet, but it dries to a very attractive dark blue with hints of green and maybe turquoise. It might even be described as a blue-black. It’s difficult to capture the color of this ink in pictures, but I’ve done my best.

No feathering
No Bleed through
Excellent flow
Good lubrication
Some good shading depending on your nib and paper
It’s not just bulletproof, it’s part of the Warden Ink series. It is the most fraud resistant ink available. (see comp. below)
Comes in a 3 oz. bottle
No nib creep.

It has that trademark chemical odor that can down right knock you over if you sniff the bottle.
It sticks to the nib and can be a pain to clean off.

Now about this sticking business. This was a bit off putting at first. When I first got the bottle I dip tested it with a dip pen. This ink dried on the dip pen nib and it was really hard to wipe off. This made me nervous. So, I put it in a Sheaffer’s Cartridge pen. I did not have the same sticking problem. After having it in that pen for a few days I switched it over to my Levenger Plumpster. I didn’t have any problems rinsing the Sheaffer clean, and I can’t find any evidence of ink still stuck on the nib. It’s been in the Plumpster for several days now and I haven’t had any problems at all. No clogging, no nothing. It also is not sticking to or staining the walls of the cartridge I put it in. So, I’m confident that this ink is perfectly pen safe.

My one suggestion would be to fill the pen using a syringe or some other method so you don’t have to dip the nib in the ink. This makes for easier clean up. But either way you should be fine. I also recommend that you flush you pen every one to two fills of this ink. Good pen hygiene=happy pens!

Further Note: When I write a review of an ink I strive to provide the most accurate account of my experiences as possible. My comments about the ink sticking to the dip pen nib should not be misconstrued as a denunciation of this ink. I, in fact, love it and it will likely see heavy rotation in my pens. For some reason, that is beyond my understanding, people tend to have a visceral kind of reaction to Noodler’s ink as if it is the devil or something. I am not one of those who subscribes to that sort of nonsense. I have several bottles of Noodler’s ink, including two other bulletproof inks, and I use them without reservation!

Now for the pictures:

ND Heron

Here is a comparison for reference:

ND heron comp

Here are a set of swabs meant to test this ink’s bulletproofness. This test was performed on 24# copy paper. As you can see A little of the blue dye is lifted when it come in contact with liquid; otherwise, this ink isn’t going anywhere. I got a little carried away with the soapy water test and actually did remove some of the paper. The ink is still there!

ND Heron tests

No affil.

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