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Are 500px’s days numbered since Flickr’s reboot?

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Flickr was for very very long the site for photos, photographers and all things camera, it was the place to show off your talents, it was free, and all about the groups. However post Yahoo purchase and not much love, the tide changed and a new upstart hit the scene called 500px. Growing very quickly 500px has received a huge number of plaudits and grown in leaps and bounds..

However has Flickr’s recent reboot and 1Tb of data given people enough to come back?

Introduction

I never used Flickr, i’ve come into this whole photography thing a bit late, so I cut my teeth on 500px as a community, which maybe puts me in an interesting place because I am coming at this as a new Flickr user. so im looking at things like how the photos are laid out, community, how easy is it to get photos onto the service? Tagging, Sets and how best to create a gallery.

Layout

Layouts, how are the photos displayed once you upload them are potentially one of the most important things a service can offer you, this is the way people are going to see your masterpeice, how it is delivered to the world. I think at this point its prudent to show you how I first show my photos on 500px and then how I display them on Flickr.

500px

The service has two methods of displaying your photos to the world, the first and one which every user has the same is via the http://500px.com/<yourname&gt; page, its what every user from paid to free has in common, and the one which is linked to the sites community system where you can like, love and favorite photos.  For many people this is effectively the site.

Screenshot 2013-05-27 at 13.16.40

This layout was a huge leap forward from the original Flickr look and feel, and is a pretty standard method of displaying photos, it shows the latest photos you have uploaded as well as quick clean access to groups and favourites.

 500px however has another trick up its sleeve in the form of the portfolio, portfolios are predefined themes which can be linked to your own domain name (http://www.photowalktheworld.com)  and allow the user to provide a page which expresses themselves a bit more.

Screenshot 2013-05-27 at 13.16.49

This part of the service has recently revamped on the site and as such there are some great 500px produced themes, and the ability for users to create their own themes (no user themes at time of writing). This site of the service is very much akin to the custom domains on Tumblr and while it does let me have a beautiful photo site I do find that it seems a bit disjointed from the community aspect of the core page. What i mean by this is It would be nice for 500px users who are logged in to vote for photos via this page as well.

Flickr

Flicker also has a new improved front page for your photos and its a huge leap forward from what was basically a text page up until this reboot.

Screenshot 2013-05-27 at 13.16.30

Uploading photos provides this rather interesting clean looking mosaic of photos, the fron screen has a customizable bannre much like the ones in Facebook and Google+ so you can provide a level of consistency across these sites if you are looking for some level of “branding” Unlike 500px there doesn’t seem to be any way of turning http://www.flickr.com/photos/photowalktheworld/ a rather unwieldy domain which isn’t pretty into anything better than maybe http://flic.kr/photowalktheworld which is ashame as I would like to keep using my own domain name.

Uploads

Both sites provide the facility to upload photos from within the web page (bit more about mobile later) offering a simple and a more complext multi uploader and both sites don’t seem to have any limit on the number of photos you can upload in a single session. With 1TB of space advertised Flickr has a lot of space, however as an Awesome user of 500px i don’t have any limits it would seem on just how many photos I can upload.

Upload speeds are dependent on where you are uploading them from, and once up both sites seem to display the photos pretty damn quickly. offering a full sized option for viewing which is good.

Mobile

With mobile phones being a huge percentage of the photo’s taken online sites can live and die by the mobile offering, I can only refer to my iPad, Android Tablet and Windows Phone 8 devices here as they are all I have to test with.

mzl.rvmxaxbl.480x480-75500px has an official app and while its a pretty app, its nothing more than a slide show really as they have never added the facility to upload photos from my IOS device up to the site. This may be a concious decision, personally its VERY Short sited I live and die by my mobile devices, i don’t own a traditional laptop.

Flickr however doesn’t even have an official iPad app, again, it is 2013 isn’t it, this is a device which has sold a few million isn’t it? This is something Yhoo need to rectify now.

However where they vendors fall, the community provides and serrvices such as Google’s Snapseed will provide the user with the ability to upload straight after post processing to Flickr, and Stackr has plugins and Apps for Stackr Cloud which provide an interface for uploading to both services (and many more) of the two services however Flicker is better supported on the iPad. Android and WP8 platform. This may be to do with an open API and possibly bigger following.

The Tablet android app from Flickr has had a face lift like the website and the app looks lovely, it does support uploads and seems pretty stable.

Community

Both sites are highly community driven, and while I do just put my photos up for others to see, my ego does have a nice massage when I get a mail or two after uploading to 500px to tell me that someone in Mexico, Borneo or Warsaw liked my photo, of recent however its evident there are people trying to game the system and I’m getting a lot more, like me, like you messages and there are a lot of 500px.com pages i get likes from which are blank.

Flicker is obviously built on community and having recently moved into Basingstoke i found a local group which have weekly get togethers at a local pub as well as tutorial groups and ones covering the street are i prefer taking. There are however a lot of dead groups with very little activity for the last year in them.

I prefer the sense of discussion and learning and feedback I might get from Flickr, and hopw it doesn’t turn out to be Troll based youtube like comments.

Sharing

So your photos are up there, how do you share them? 500px has the ability to share with the usual suspects Facebook, Twitter and interestingly Pintrest and Stumble Upon which are an interesting inclusion.

Screenshot 2013-05-27 at 15.21.07

Flicker has a wealth of in site sharing available, embarrassingly so because I use all of these services to promote this wordpress blog as well

Screenshot 2013-05-27 at 15.24.05

This again like the community is more due to Flickr’s age and historical following, however if you are a user of these services it does make for easier sharing.

Google+

With Google’s recent overhaul of photos on Google+ this also throws another option into the mix, I am a member of a few very active photo communities on the site and already invested in the infrastructure with Android and Chromebook hardware, it is certainly providing me a better “backup” option than Adobe Revel and has almost rendered Everpix obsolete. G+ is rapidly becoming for me at least the place to talk about photography and it would be good to see either Flickr or 500px have a better link in with G+

Conclusion

So what have we got here? Well lets start with something fairly obvious, this is a subjective post, I use one service, I’ve opened up an account on another and while i am impressed with Flickr’s new look and feel, I do think 500px’s custom domain features are something not utilised by enough sites and Flickr could do a lot worse than taking a leaf out of the 500px/Tumblr book on this functionality, and as Tumblr has shown if you do it right to can make some cash out of themes. In a perfect world this might happen post purchase by Yahoo and it would make for potentially the best Site engine in the industry merging Tumblr and Flickr back ends.

500px has followed a similar path to many industry darlings, Squarespace, even Tumblr have done the same thing, boom launch, sit back, being in users, create an app or two and see if that will get you bought out. Omissions such as uploads from IOS apps might not mean much to many, however in the grand scheme of things they are big omissions.

While this flickr reboot will have people like me taking a look over at this site, and even consider shelling out the $49 for Ad Free, its not going to kill 500px, as we move mobile and are taking more photos Flickr however might seem like the better option for new users due to its wealth of support.

I’m not sure which way i’m going to swing just yet, and I have 3 months left until i have to pay for the 12 month subscription, i’m going to play about a bit more with Flickr, see if i can muster up a following and make a decision at pay time.

 

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