I’ve been a more or less active user of Flickr for the last 6 years and have owned a Pro account for most of them. I have several hundred contacts on it and love combing through their photos and seeing what they have been up to. But looking at the progress Flickr has made in the last 6 years, you cannot stop and wonder why so little has changed about the website and its functions. The addition of the Lightbox and Twitter & Facebook integration was much needed but beyond that, there has been little to no real progress. And seeing how much the web has changed in that time frame makes it really hard not to be concerned for Flickrs future – especially in light of cost cutting measures at Yahoo, which owns Flickr.
There have been wonderful posts with suggestions about what Flickr needs to do better, like this one by Thomas Hawk, and there has also been one of the first interviews I have seen with a Flickr executive recently. But you can’t help wondering what will happen.
This always leads me to look for alternatives. I tried Zoomr a few years back, uploaded my photos to DeviantArt for a while and also tried SmugMug. But none of them really was what I was looking for. Then a few weeks back someone tweeted about a site I have never heard of: 500px.com. So of I went again to try a new site and see how I like it.
The first thing you notice is the design, which feels much more modern than Flickr and is on a dark background, which is something many of us feel is missing from Flickr (though it has gotten better with the Lightroom feature). Additionally, you get nice large thumbnails of your contacts photos, all on one page.
Of course 500px has the ability to add favorites, follow other photographers and comment on others work. Something that is quite different about 500px than Flickr though, is the ability to „like“ or „dislike“ photos via the touch of a button. The button presses lead to a score that is visible to you and which is used to group popular and „up and coming“ photographs. This makes the popular section really, really spectacular because they are full of stunning and brilliant photographs!
However, the Dislike button shows you pretty quickly why facebook never incorporated it – it feels really, really bad if the only vote you have on a photo is a negative one – but this is the only instance where you will know how people voted (you do not get a negative score but it will show as 0.0).
You can set a category for your photograph (out of a handful, which is much nicer imo than thousands of groups on flickr) and filter images by category and also add tags to your images. However, currently it does not import the tags you have set in your image editing software – but that feature seems to be coming soon.
Other nice web2.0 things that 500px has, which Flickr is missing are the different social like buttons and also the ability to use the stumble function by stumbleupon simply on 500px, which is very, very cool for finding new photographs and people to follow!
Like flickr there is a Pro version, called Awesome, which gives you a lot of additional features from the free version and might be worth a look, especially if you are looking for a portfolio website, because you can have your own website and blog on 500px, too.
The last big question of course, is the quality of the photos on 500px. I have to say from what I have seen, the quality of the artwork is really spectacular, it is really more of a fine arts community than a simple photo sharing site, so the quality of photographers is really great, without giving you an inferiority complex. 😉 Plus, it’s been really growing this last few months – after many of the german photographers I follow on twitter joined it at the same time I did, the last few days & weeks I have seen many tweets by American photographers singing its praises, so it is gaining traction.
Overall, I really think you should check it out! Will it replace Flickr for me? At least for now, no – but maybe in the feature because I really like the features, I just need to add more contacts to make it a daily destination. If you want to check out my images or add me on 500px, my username if pfenya (as always)