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500px Updates iOS App and Gets A Lot More Social

by • August 10, 2015 • Other PlatformsComments Off on 500px Updates iOS App and Gets A Lot More Social4171

If you’re a photographer, you’ve probably heard of 500px (five hundred pixels) before. It’s an online photography community not unlike Picasa or Flickr. A few days ago, the company revamped its iOS app, adding a lot more social functionality, which moves it into territory traditionally held by Instagram. In fact, the updated app looks – and acts – a lot like Instagram.

Also Read: Instagram Is Getting Ready For HD

500px was traditionally always a bit of an alternative to Flickr but with the added functionality of a photography marketplace when’re photographers could store and show their work to the world, as well as make some money from them. There are currently nearly 10 million active monthly users on the site, so it’s become quite a serious community. I guess they have figured it’s a good time to attract a different crowd – cue, the updated social functionality.

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The new 500px iOS app seems a bit more sophisticated than Instagram and you can easily see how. It is definitely targeted at a more “serious crowd”.

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David Charlec, head of mobile products explained,

We’ve had a reputation of very good photography and high-quality photos, and we’re trying to keep up with that.

EXIF data for any image can be displayed (this is a must for many serious photographers) and you are not limited to uploading square images. This gives the photographer a lot more freedom of expression. I guess it’s less “gimmicky” than Instagram in that respect. It still looks a lot like Instagram in that there is a feed – where you can view, comment on and “favourite” images from other users that you follow, there is a dedicated editing area, as well as a tab to explore and discover other photographers from tags or photos. Popular photos are grouped into categories. The new app also offers a notification area.

 

For monetisation purposes, 500px is not changing its business model though. It will remain a community and marketplace for serious photographers “who are looking to exhibit and sell their work”.

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Users will even soon be able to buy images directly from the mobile app. Now photographers and other users can connect to others and follow each other, and the sense that 500px is turning into a social network is very palpable. User profiles and search features have really been made a lot better in the app.

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It also connects with Adobe Lightroom (accessing Creative Cloud and allowing mobile editing features like noise reduction and perspective), and it offers many filters called “presets”. The real difference between 500px and Instagram lies in the way images are compressed. All images uploaded on the app are compressed separately for the different devices that people might view them on. Instagram has gone HD recently, but if you upload an image on your phone you can notice compression on the web. 500px began as a website with an emphasis on quality images, not the other way around. It is clearly created for those who like high res imagery, but it is adding social functionality as a game-changer.

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The move is bold, but in my opinion totally logical. However, my question would be… “Can they pull it off?” Well, the answer to that lies in its users and whether they will use the new app the way 500px has envisioned. As we all know, a social network is nothing without its users – active users might I add.


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