Since 2009, the 500px community has grown from nothing to 6 million.
Those aren’t Facebook numbers, of course, but it’s a tight knit community of photographers that have been relatively loyal to the platform. Last week, though, the company released a new iPhone app developed to attract far more mainstream users with a very social redesign.
If you like Instagram, there’s a good chance the new 500px will look familiar to you. Its primary feed lets you view photos, as well as comment and favorite them. It also includes a discovery section in which you can look for tags and users, if you prefer to browse that way. But 500px sets itself apart, too, in that it is far more flexible. Users can post more than just square images, for one – that’s a big difference. You can also view the EXIF data of any photo. Curious about the shutter speed on one pic, and aperture on another? No problem. You can even see which filter was used during the editing process, assuming that VSCO Cam was used.
If you haven’t seen the 500px website lately, now’s a good time to give it another look: visitors can buy high quality work directly from photographers. According to David Charlec, 500px’s head of mobile products, that feature will make its way into the mobile app in the near term.
Another feature that sets 500px apart: it integrates with Adobe Lightroom. That’s a big plus for photographers, as it gives them mobile editing capabilities and access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud storage. There’s a wide array of presets – essentially filters – that can be used for editing on the fly.
While Instagram is still trying to figure out compression at scale, given its massive amounts of users, 500px takes advantage of its relatively small number of users by serving up consistently high quality photos. So, wherever you upload an image from, you’ll then be served up a copy that’s compressed and optimized for whatever type of device you’re viewing it on later. “We’ve built a lot of IP around automatic resizers,” says CEO Andy Yang. “It’s our secret sauce.”
Looking to expand your photographic horizons? You can download the newest version of 500px on the App Store. 500px’s Android version will be updated later in 2015.