You won’t find any filters or camera buttons on 500px, a mobile photography app. 500px is a social portfolio app for amateur and professional photographers, and has been hailed as a Flickr killer since it launched in 2011. The startup released version 2.0 of its iOS app today with a completely renewed design, and support for iPhone 5 and iOS 6.
Photographs are the focus of the app and it does a great job of shining the spotlight on the photographs with minimal distractions. “Our iPhone app is focused on great photography and, with minimal UI, is distraction-free,” says Adam Shutsa, lead designer at 500px in a statement. “We display the largest photos possible for the device with an outstanding design that fills the screen and showcases our community”s incredible photos.”
500px CEO Oleg Gustol adds that the company has been working on the redesign to the iPhone app for some time now. It’s not an update that the team has taken lightly. “We only release a new product or an update when it meets our high aesthetic and functional standards and enhances our photographers” experience,” said Gustol.
The new 500px pushes navigating through the app to the top navigation bar. We booted up the new app to try it out and, while we’re excited about the layout, the navigation is confusing at first glance. It’s also easy for users with wider fingers to misclick a button. The left-hand side of the navigation bar that says “500px” opens up a list of buttons that lead to notifications, settings, a tour of the app, and a search feature for finding or inviting friends. In the middle of the navigation is a slim button that opens up “Home,” “Photos,” and your own profile. The button to the far right is context sensitive and depends on what page you’re on. For example, if you have the “Home” page open, you can navigate between “Flow,” “Following,” and “Favorites.”
Once you get the hang of the navigation bar which shouldn’t take more than a few attempts, it’s more apparent that the app has elements of a social network. 500px’s widely lauded “Flow” feature displays photos uploaded by friends and other photographers that you follow, similar to a newsfeed. Users can comment, “Like,” favorite, and share photos to Facebook/Twitter or email. And the “Photo” page filters images by “Popular,” “Editor’s Choice,” “Upcoming,” “Fresh,” and “Search.”
The best feature that we have to credit 500px with is its profile page. Users can prominently feature their best photo in its full size as their “cover” photo, and there isn’t much of an emphasis on the profile photo as it’s just a minute thumbnail. A user’s “wall” is just a scrollable stream of images that they’ve shared on their profile page.
If you do a side by side comparison between Flickr and 500px’s apps, you’ll be immediately drawn to the latter. To back this up, the company revealed that its iPad app had over 100,000 downloads in the first week of launching, and may reach 1 million downloads on Android and iOS devices before 2013.
You can download the new version of 500px for iPhone here.