500px vs. flickr – which is better? a review

IMPORTANT UPDATE! With the new Flickr, this post is out of date and may not present accurate information! Please read the new review on the new Flickr!

If you have been a digital photographer for a while now, you will probably know that Yahoo’s Flickr has been the place to be for all those that want to showcase their photography. Things seem to be changing now that there is a new competitor on the runway: 500px.

What is 500px?

This is how they define themselves:

“500px is a photographic community powered by creative people from all over the world that lets you share and discover inspiring photographs.”

Nothing new here; basically the same thing as Flickr. So why has this website been generating so much buzz in the last period?

My personal opinion is that it answers the prayers of many Flickr users: A good interface, a very good integration with the social media and a market where to sell your photos.

Let’s face it: Flickr interface is just plain outdated, probably it was old when it came out already. In a recent post on TechCrunch it has been said that Flickr will update its interface in the near future after years of neglectfulness, but by the picture I’ve been able to see as a preview of the things to come, it still feels quite out-of-date design. And yahoo has to admit it: Facebook & Twitter cannot be ignored. “Like” and “Tweet” buttons are needed desperately to be placed in a spot where they can easily be reached. It’s web design basics, really!

500px interface. Nice.

The screenshot here shows 500px’s user interface. Nice and clean, somehow resembles Pinterest’s. Now let’s give a look at Flickr’s 2012 interface:

Flickr interface. Old.

So, which one would you go for?

500px pros

  • 500px looks better (but I will edit or confirm this after Flickr’s revamp on the 28th of February 2012)
  • You can sell your photos
  • Is well integrated with social media (all photos have Facebook’s “Like” button, Google’s “+1”, Twitter’s “Tweet” button, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and the “Embed” possibility.)
  • The “Portfolio” is an interesting and a nice way of showcasing your photography.
  • There is the possibility to have a photography blog on-site
  • The on-site upload function is better than Flickr’s (although, external programs designed with Flickr API are more effective than 500px’s website upload)

Flickr pros

  • Has a very vast and solid community
  • It is cheaper: 24.95$ against 500px’s 50$ for a 1 year subscription
  • Perfect integration with Creative Commons (although we have to keep in mind that licensing can be embedded in the metadata of the photo you upload.)
  • The Flickr API. Many wonderful applications have been developed.
  • Reliable.

What appears clear to me is that 500px is more centered around the individual other than the community. This could work well for the Toronto-based company, especially in today’s market. Flickr has to wake-up from hibernation or it will loose so many customers (including me) in such a short time. I have renewed my Flickr subscription a month ago, but if i would have stumbled upon 500px earlier, I might had reconsidered who to give my money to.

Giulio Menna
Lover of: all things digital, humanities, and medieval manuscripts. I created Sexy Codicology and the DMMmaps Project and run them both with passion and love in my free time. I am an MA graduate in Book and Digital Media Studies at Leiden University. Still happily living in the Netherlands.