500px vs. Flickr

Is It Time To Dump Flickr?

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We’ve been considering moving away from Flickr for awhile now for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Flickr has become, as Scott Kelby (and others) put it, “a place to put your photos when you want a hug”. Enter into the mix, a new photo sharing site called 500px. Except that 500px isn’t new. The startup was formed in 2003 by Ian Sobolev and Oleg Gutsol, but it’s only been in the last 6 months or so that 500px has really started to take off (membership has grown an amazing 60% in the last 30 days alone). It seems to be the site photographers are gravitating to in light of the poor publicity Flickr is getting. People have been complaining about Flickr’s poor design, that the functionality is clunky (let’s be honest, Flickr’s UI has always sucked) and the fact that they see the Explore page as nothing more than a popularity contest. Plus, Flickr has had a reputation for poor customer service, even before being folded into Yahoo. We have been Flickr users for several years now and haven’t had as many of the problems others have had, but it has seemed lately to be more of a photo dumping site as opposed to a place for serious photographers. That is why, for the past several months, we have been researching other options and 500px caught our eye.

There are quite a few heavy-hitters who have already jumped ship from Flickr, including photographer and photo blogger Thomas Hawk (UPDATE: We based Thomas leaving Flickr on an article in TechCrunch, as well as his ongoing criticisms of the service, which includes an open letter to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. But, apparently, Thomas, while currently singing the praises of 500px in articles like this and this, is still on Flickr. Perhaps we should have cited the leaving of Matthew Rothenberg instead. We apologize for the mistake). Just today, Zack Arias posted the image below to his Twitter feed, dropping the news that he was deleting his Flickr account and moving to 500px.


Zack Dumps Flickr


So what is it about 500px that has photographers packing it in on Flickr? Maybe it’s the excellent customer service. Maybe it’s the ultra-clean photo-centric UI (with custom logo and domain integration). Or maybe it’s the fact that there are actually Editors behind the Editors’ Choice. But before you get the credit card out and start archiving, all is not perfect in the land of 500px. There are a few things that, at the very least, need addressing, and, for some, will need to change dramatically before saying Adios to the House of Yahoo. Among them, the fact that there are, as of yet, no public groups, like you will find on Flickr. Nor is there a public API, which is a limiting factor for third-party development and connectivity. Finally, although you are able to sell your photos through 500px (they are using the Fotomoto backend), there is still no way to actually declare licenses for the photos you upload. Still, for a growing number of both amateur and pro photographers, the Pros far outweigh the Cons. We know they do for us. Still, why not take 500px for a test drive and let us know what you think. The free account offers unlimited hosting of your own SEO-optimized photo blog (which is also iOS friendly – LOVE), a growing community and great customer support. The paid option is only $50/yr. and adds premium portfolios, custom logo and URL integration (white-label), Google Analytics, Photo RSS feed and more.



  • Sell Your Photos!
  • Like/Dislike Button (anonymous)
  • Higher Quality of Photos
  • Fantastic UI
  • Great Customer Service (try getting a hold of anyone from Flickr)



  • No Groups
  • No Privacy Settings
  • No Licensing Options
  • No Public API



Site Home – 500px vs. Flickr

500 pixels - Home Flickr - Home

User Home – 500px vs. Flickr

500 pixels - User Home Flickr - User Home


User Photostream – 500px vs. Flickr

500 pixels User Photostream Flickr User Photostream





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  • strangemonkey November 21, 2012   Reply →

    I love Flickr and see no reason to try anything else. Flickr application performance is quite robust and snappy. There is a full API! And what about groups? There’s a group for anything you want and likeminded individuals with whom to exchange ideas and feedback. Along with snappy servers, I feel groups are Flickr’s biggest asset, especially for niche interests like large format / analog photography. Additionally, the interface, and maximum image size (which is quite huge for Pro accounts), and file types, including videos, is just great! Feel free to dump Flickr, my feeling is you’ll have less of an audience for your photos, and probably regret it. Unless you don’t care about sharing your photos with the widest possible (and / or most interested) audience.

  • Peter June 6, 2012   Reply →

    Flickr strives through its groups – it probably was a mistake to allow people to ‘dump’ their photos on it – in hindsight. It’s interface is ugly and not always consistent – though it is more ugly than inconsistent. On the other hand it seems to be more open than 500px. They do serve different purposes I believe – one is more of a portfolio the other more of a place to get critique. You may be connected from user to user on 500px, but as far as I can see there’s limited flexibility in say opening a group for flash photography and getting feedback on how to improve… 

  • kitschigai April 30, 2012   Reply →

    I recently signed up to 500px and so far I like it. I still love flickr too – probably more. I have no complaints with flickr. The community is genuinely friendly and supportive, the group forums are too. Their customer service is good – I have contacted them 3 times and have received a personal response in around 24hrs. I love the clean and simple UI and I think the quality of the photographs is continually improving especially since certain people have been jumping ship to 500px

  • HARPOON F. FLYBY November 20, 2011   Reply →

    500px customer service sucks too. They however did refund my pro account, so I bid them adieu

  • Martin Zeile July 28, 2011   Reply →

    I will keep my Flickr, but only a regular (free) subscription. I won’t renew the pro Account for now. I think Flickr is more of a “post my snapshots” page and 500px is for the ambitious amateur and above. 500px should take care to keep the crappy images outside -which of course will be a difficult task to decide which to approve or reject. Anyway, so far, after 2 weeks of 500px I love it more than I have loved flickr at any time.

  • Scott Buckel July 17, 2011   Reply →

    Just started playing with 500px and so far I like the interface much better than Flickr. I was very surprised that I got almost immediate feedback for the few photos I have posted.

    I do feel that each of them definitely have different roles and I will likely keep my Flickr account as well. To me Flickr will become the place to dump a bunch of photos to share while more serious work will be posted to 500px.


  • Interesting thoughts on using Flickr. I’m a Flickr user and am starting to question it’s purpose……

  • Martin Liddamenf July 2, 2011   Reply →

    I have hardly touched Flickr since I allowed my pro account to expire and have now completely deleted my pages. I am building up my portfolio on Zenfolio instead and intend using social media for networking. I hated the change to Flickr’s interface, but most of all I disliked the way that young female photographers get drooled over by hundreds of men, some of whose hugs seem to tend towards the “special” rather than reflecting any critical judgement of the images posted :)

  • David June 29, 2011   Reply →

    i’m likely going to be shutting down my flickr account, but have no desire to move to another flickr, which 500px ultimately is. i’ll likely just start hosting my own images on my site/blog, and zenfolio for sales. more control over the images, not looking to get flickr famous or whatever the 500px version is.

    • Faded + Blurred June 29, 2011  

      Ha! “flickr famous”. We love Zenfolio and are going to be adding some Zenfolio based content in the coming weeks. We’re also looking at doing a roundup/comparison of 500px, Zenfolio and SmugMug, from the end-user perspective.

  • cfimages June 22, 2011   Reply →

    I still use Flickr for one particular group I run, but other than that, I had pretty much given up on Flickr months ago, before I discovered 500px. I’ve been on 500px for a few weeks now and love it so far. As soon as I get time to dedicate a few hours to uploading, I’ll spring for an upgraded membership.

  • bbluesman June 21, 2011   Reply →

    Thomas Hawk hasn’t pulled out of Flickr as you allege. He is still very active there-I know because I moderate a group he is and administrator in. He is impressed with the design and many features of 500px-you should check your facts a little better.

    • Faded + Blurred June 22, 2011  

      Thanks for calling us out on that. We’ve updated the article and apologize for the mistake.

  • Garrett H. g June 21, 2011   Reply →

    Interesting and your points about Flickr are certainly valid. But why no mention of Smugmug? I have been using them for years and they seem to top both of them. The only thing is the lack of public groups. But the commerce interface, overall UI and customer service are astoundingly good. Just curious. Love to see a comparison of SM and 500px

    • Faded + Blurred June 22, 2011  

      Actually, we’re looking at doing a comparison of 500px, Smugmug and Zenfolio, from the customer perspective of UI, ordering a print and the delivered package. Stay tuned…

  • Domestic Executive June 21, 2011   Reply →

    I get Flickr pro account free with my email account and have uploaded photographs in the past as a backup.  Now I have other ways of doing that I hardly ever use Flickr.  I found the feedback superficial and had some of my images used by someone else without crediting me which made me pretty mad.  500px looks much more discerning so I might look at it as I’m about the reboot my photography blog and it would be a good test for sharing my work.

  • Trude Ellingsen June 21, 2011   Reply →

    One of the things I love most about Flickr is the amazing photogs I’ve met there, some of whom I communicate regularly with via blogs and Twitter, etc. I could care less about Explore. I also use it as a practically free way to back up full res versions of my photos! Granted, I have Backblaze and Mobile Me and an EHD, but no harm in having quadruple protection. :) So I’d look at 500px IF they fixed those cons and IF my buddies moved there…

  • Faded + Blurred June 21, 2011   Reply →

    For some reason, one of the comments isn’t showing up here, but it does show in the dashboard. We didn’t want the person who left it thinking we deleted it. Here it is: 
    “Recently joined 500px and loved the design and ease of use.  So slowly porting my work over to it from Flickr .” – Ray Marvin

  • Joe Grossinger June 21, 2011   Reply →

    People love to hate Flickr. Sure, big guns like Scott Kelby can get by without Flickr and I’m sure so can a lot of other big name professionals. However, for amateurs like me, Flickr is the place to be. I sell quite a few photos internationally without really trying and were it not for Flickr, I would not make a dime from my photography hobby.
    This article strikes me as a long, dreary and boring commercial for 500px.
    I don’t have the time nor the energy to waste on it.
    Look me up on Flickr – Birdman of El Paso

  • Tarique Sani June 21, 2011   Reply →

    I am not a professional and I license all my pictures under a CC license. Having been a flickr user for long the UI 500px is indeed refreshing but all the 4 cons that you listed are a show stopper for me. I upgraded my flickr account and still have a free 500px test drive account.

  • vinylculture June 21, 2011   Reply →

    No entiendo ahora este pequeño revuelo , y todo por que ha aparecido un servicio que lo imita y que se nos presenta como más “cool ” y moderno , y como si las demás empresas no cometieran fallos , yo lo llevo utilizando  muchos años y nunca, repito, nunca he tenido ningún problema ” Flickr forever”

  • Rae Marvin June 21, 2011   Reply →

    Recently joined 500px and loved the design and ease of use.
    So slowly porting my work over to it from Flickr .

  • Craig Booth June 21, 2011   Reply →

    I have a free 500px account which I am intending to upgrade.

    For the professional, there are some drawbacks as the article illustrates, however for the beginner and amateur who has no intention of selling (yet) it’s fine.

    I would question that not having groups is a drawback. One of my reasons for leaving Flickr behind is all of the ‘please post this in my group!’ spam. It’s a mess. I don’t want that on 500px, right now it’s a nice setup.

  • Chris Plante June 20, 2011   Reply →

    I have yet to re-subscribe my pro Flickr account. My 500px account is so far unused. I think if 500px takes care of some of the “cons”, Flickr is dead. 

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