After reading estimated 1000 articles about 500px in the last months, I decided to try it on my own.
This was 4 weeks ago.
This hot new Flickr contestant seemed to be a lot better than flickr, and it felt like EVERYONE who registered there loved it more than Flickr.
I had to try it.
I registered at 500px, and uploaded my first image there.
I instantly liked the way of picture presentation, how large the images are shown, and how nice and noble the stream view looks.
But after using it for some weeks, not everything is as glamorous as it seemed in the first place.
Popular vs Explore
What I like most about it is, that its transparent, and that you know how the process is.
Every user can vote shots up or down, this creates a kind of average rating, a number between 1 and 100.
If your shot is high class, and you get a really good rating, it will be showcased in the popular section and receive a much higher number of clicks.
Flickrs Explore Page is more or less intransparent and the images that rotate there are chosen by the magic Flickr “Donkey”.
I dont Flickr Explore much, since the shots are mostly very uncreative ones and by far not the best that you can find on this wonderful Page. If you like flowers or any other topic with “nice” shots, you will have a good time though.
But dont expect to see breathtaking photography, this happens only rarely.
Even though Explore does what it wants and its not representative at all, almost every Flickrite tries to make it into the chosen 500 of the day.
The reason for that is simple: You usually get masses of exposure if your shot is in Explore for a handful of hours. People that receive “only” 30 clicks on a normal day receive 1000 clicks in such a short time and that feels good, obviously.
All in All 500px wins in this category.
The Social Aspect
Flickr offers loads of ways to get in contact with other photographers.
You can flickrmail, put your photography into groups to get in contact with likeminded people or you can comment on photos.
All these means that you can easily contact whoever you want.
For me, thats a huge negative point about 500px.
You can comment on other photos,you can write a public mail on the wall of a fellow 500pxer, and you can blog, but nothing more.
No mailing service, no groups.
If the persons have added contact details such as facebook, email or website you might be able to contact them there, but personally I enjoy contacting a photographer at the same platform that I found him.
Flickr definitely wins this category.
Pro vs Awesome
Both platforms offer a free account, and a paid one that gives you more possibilities and freedom.
Flickr Pro offers unlimited space for photos, statistics about referrers and click counts of your stream and no advertising. Price for Flickr Pro is 25$/year.
500px Awesome is 50$/year.
Included is: Unlimited space for photos, option to connect 500px to a custom domain (that you need to buy on your own), iphone and ipad support and google analytics.
I only have a Flickr Pro, I dont have 500px Awesome.
And I wouldnt like to change that.
Even though both pages offer unlimited space, you can not really use them in the same way.
Flickr offers the best online Organizr, which makes it easy to even organize hundreds of images.
Flickr also gives you the option to set the visibility of your photos.
That means you can also upload photos privately, and use Flickr as a online HDD Backup.
500px doesnt offer this option. You can only upload publicly, which makes it hardly usable as a Backup device for holiday photos taken at the beach.
500px offers collections, but these are not visible in the usual “stream view” but only in the portfolio view.
If you are a “normal” user you can create only one collection. For unlimited collections you need to upgrade to Awesome.
But lets come back to the Portfolio thing.
The portfolio view is a cool gimmick, that lets you create a simplified photography website without any coding knowledge or IT-experience. You can choose from a dozen styles, and you can add biography pages etc.
For me thats more a fun feature than a serious one, because its neither professional nor customizable.
But since you dont have to invest time thinking about design etc. its a good way of presentation for amateur photographers.
To sum this up: 500px is offering interesting features, that are not really new, but packed together at only one spot. This way people can have there social photosharing experience, their blog and their photography website at one place. In the end, none of those three facts did convince me completely, because all of them are better, if you have them on places that are made for them. What I mean by that?
A wordpress blog is much nicer and more customizable than the 500px one, A photographer portfolio looks more professional when its done on pages like photoshelter.com, and for having a real social photosharing experience, Flickr is the better spot than 500px.
500px is nice, when it comes to presenting your photography.
But everything around this is not enough to really challenge the big player Flickr.
I got to know some of the most amazing people in the world through Flickr, made friends, learned extrordinary lessons in photography there. I simply dont feel that this would have been possible on 500px, because its just not really supporting social interaction of the users in the way Flickr does it.
Flickr is still my personal #1 even though some background decisions from Yahoo should have been done differently.
I still enjoy being on Flickr every day, even though I am active there for more than 3 years.
500px bores me already now. Its just not the same.