The Lamy 2000 and the Pilot Vanishing Point are probably the two most common “first expensive” fountain pen for many. They are two very different pens, and what makes each of them great is also very different.
What makes both of them great are the fantastic nibs and you get a lot for your money. But there are some good and some bad about both of them.
The Lamy 2000 has a hooded nib, I love it, but it isn’t a good fit for everyone. Some people can never get a hold of how to angle it. And it can be a little bit big for some users. But you get one of the best designed fountain pens, if not the best and a lot of ink in each filling.
The Vanishing Point on the other hand is a cartridge converter pen instead of a piston filler; this means that the ink capacity is much lower. And this pen is also much more right handed friendly than left handed. This is because of the profile and position of the clip. I’m not bothered by it, but a lot of people are.
Both of these pens are something you either have to risk or need to try before you know if it is something for you. It isn’t the biggest risk, because both of them would be fairly easy to sell used without too much of a loss.
You probably want both.
What I love about the Vanishing Point is how quick it is to unretract, write something down and retract the nib again; compared to taking the nib of a regular pen, write and then putting it on again. The thing that drive me nuts about it is how poor the ink capacity is.
What I love about the Lamy 2000 is that the ink almost lasts forever, and the nib is my absolute favourite. And there are nothing I dislike about it, but it is just much faster to use the Vanishing Point.
I would get both again without having to think that much about it, but the Lamy 2000 is without doubt the one I think is the better out of the two. But one of the reasons it is the better, is that the Vanishing Point is a pen design with a lot of constraints that are needed to give it the one killer feature that is the reason we buy it: the only good retractable fountain pen in existence.