This journal entry is just one more combination of pen, ink, journal and coffee house. I'm at Juli's Coffehouse, taking a couple lunch breaks to test a new PEN! Gee, I love to do this. I thought I was happy with my current art supplies. But no, a friend (that's you, Cheryl) mentioned the Noodler's Flex Nib pen (at only $20, gouletpens.com). She knew I use a Namiki (msrp $180). Now I'm not proud of what I paid for the Namiki. I'm not a fountain pen snob. I'm a pen and ink addict with no 10-step program to save me. Anyway, Cheryl wanted to know how these two pens would compare and if I would conclude that the Namiki is worth the money.
Short answer - the Namiki is worth the money from the standpoint of quality material and construction and it's visual presentation. This thing's a piece of art and joy to use. And it PERFORMS. I'll pay for performance. That's probably why I'll never have a $350 fountain pen (which I lust for), because they may be build better yet, but won't perform better.
Back to the Noodler's. I'd like to meet the company CEO. He wanted a fountain pen for the common person, at a reasonable price so that the fountain pen could take its rightful place as a price-viable mode of written communication, and he did it! The features that mean the most to me - nice fit in hand (I like the fuller barrel of the Ahab), impressive ink flow rate (maybe too fast for some when you spring the tip for a wide mark), variable width (easy to shift from fine to broad), massive ink capacity, and colorful bodies.
Now, to get to a $20 product you need to shave some corners. They do that through cheaper parts and design. I don't know about fountain pen design (what you don't see in the pen) but from a performance standpoint the Namiki is not 9 times better. I'd be happy with the Noodler's alone. I love them both. I think I saw on the Goulet website they refer to the Noodler's pen as a "novelty" pen. Not sure what that means. It's a full function pen that does everything I want. I'm hooked. I'll be using both fountain pens.
Spend what you're comfortable spending on a pen. It's how you use it that counts. Both pens will get me to the paradise of pen and ink sketching.