Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Comparison of grey fountain pen inks

Grey ink comparison, scan

If you've read my blog for a while, you know I keep an ink journal to keep track of all my fountain pen inks. I update it every time I refill or clean a pen, so it's a great record of maintenance, and of course it helps me remember which ink is in which pen! But I also play around in it from time to time, and ink comparisons are always great fun. I had a yen a while back to compare my grey inks - or at least, the grey and blue-grey inks I had loaded in pens at the time.

What you see above is a scan of that comparison.

Grey ink comparison, photo

I also took a photo of the page, in natural light (indirect sunlight), and to my eyes, this one (the photo above) is a far more accurate portrayal of the colors. But some people prefer scans to photos, so in the interest of a full range, I used both imaging options.

I hadn't realized, until I put them all together like this, how very greenish the Noodler's Lexington Gray is.

The inks and pens listed above:
Diamine Grey / Esterbrook 9550 (EF)
Noodler's Lexington Gray / Guanleming 706 EF
Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun / Platinum Preppy M
Diamine Prussian Blue / Esterbrook 9788 (M)
Diamine Registrar's Ink / Lantu Bazic Eclipse M

The Registrar's Ink and the Lexington Gray are both waterproof, so they show up on postcards with some regularity. The others are for the innards of a letter or a journal.

Do I have a favorite? I guess I'd have to flag the Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun and the Registrar's Ink as current top picks, both for the color and behavior.

For those who are as geeky as I am about this sort of thing, these comparisons are in a Clairefontaine Basics clothbound journal, just like this one I blogged about over a year ago, except the current incarnation has a black cover. I'm pretty happy with using this journal as an ink journal, but when I finish this one, perhaps I'll branch out. Who knows.


  1. Awesome! This comparison will be useful to me. Love the look of the Diamine Grey!

  2. I took a liking to Diamine Graphite ink, a black-gray. Bought a 30 ml small bottle from Diamine UK directly.


  3. My ink list-to-buy just grew again :-) I like the Lexington Gray very much, but I think I'm going to get Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun next time I buy ink.

  4. The fuyu-syogun is on my to get list :) Lexington grey is pretty much my go to grey ink right now.

  5. There's something so romantic and...nerdy (in the best way!) about an ink journal -- I love it! Brilliant idea and interesting too -- it would make a fabulous novel.

  6. I'd be interested in seeing Parker Quink black in comparison with those. It has a reputation of being grey instead of black, and I've certainly noticed that when comparing it to Sheaffer Skrip black and Lamy black.

  7. Stefan - on the one hand, any ink that calls itself black but comes out grey would probably not live long in my ink stash without being passed along to someone else. I do confess I own a bottle of Parker Quink black, but I've never opened it or loaded it in a pen - it's a vintage bottle from my grandfather which has gained some sentimental value for me especially after his death, and I haven't had the urge to crack it open.

    On the other hand, I've also heard folks say that Waterman Black is like a grey, and I haven't had that experience at all - it is the only ink I load in my very wet Parker 51 (which I do pamper a bit), and maybe it's the wetness of that pen, but it's nice and black in that context.