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Saturday, April 08, 2006

23hq or Flickr?

I'm trying to decide between two websites to host my photographs on line: 23 (or is it 23hq? The web adddress is 23hq.com...) and Flickr (which everyone knows). (I did consider Zooomr, but see my last post for its failings.)

NB: the terms "sets" (Flickr) and "albums" (23hq) are effectively interchangeable.

23hq has the better (more consistent and more intuitive) navigation: especially the simple series of tabs across the top which makes it extremely quick and easy to navigate around people's photos. Flickr, by contrast, is a little less consistent and not quite so "obvious". But it compensates with some neat touches - the way that, on each picture page, any additional sets a picture belongs to can be expanded out to give thumbnails of the next/previous pictures in that set, which you can then scroll through. In fact, several parts of Flickr have this navigation. 23hq has something similar, but clicking on a thumbnail loads that picture's page, redrawing the whole page in the process - makes browsing a more time consuming. 23hq has a neat "calendar" view of pictures too - a nice touch, which I believe Flickr lacks.

An important issue is what you get with a free acount: Flickr is crippled, while 23hq is not. Flickr restricts free acount users to displaying only their last 200 pictures uploaded and gives them only 3 sets. To be useable, you really needs to buy a pro account at $25. 23hq gives everyone unlimited pictures and albums - their only limit is the 20Mb a month upload quota (same as Flickr's), which should be fairly hard to exceed with careful choice of picture size and compression. You don't really need to upload sizes bigger than 800x600, and handily Picasa - my photograph management software of choice - can export photographs you select in sizes chosen by you.

Both sites also off stand-alone photograph uploading clients - which makes sending pictures a lot easier. Typically, you can just pick the picture you want to upload in Picasa then drag and drop them into the uploader client.

But the one thing Flickr has that 23hq currently lacks is simply quality of pictures - I don't know of any one as good as rebba on 23hq, for example. It's nice to add some good photograpers as "contacts" (both Flickr and 23hq have this feature) and go see what latest pictures they've come up with - you're going to see better on Flickr, at least for the moment :-).

And simply comparing member home pages of 23hq and Flickr side-by-side, I can't help but feel that Flickr is just that little bit more visually appealing...

It's also worth mentioning that Flickr has more social features - things like "pools", where different photographers can submit pictures with common themes.

So which will I go with? I'm going to sleep on it, and decide tomorrow...

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