Beautiful 500px app arrives on the iPhone

500px (pronounced five hundred pixels), a web-based photography community, launched in October 2009 and quickly established itself as the premium photo sharing destination. If your photo needs go beyond Instagram’s recognizable filters and low resolution snaps of people’s food and pets, you may have stumbled upon the 500px web site where people share only their best work in a manner that has nothing to do with the simplification (some would say, dumbification) of Instagram.

The Toronto-based startup has now updated its iPad app, released a year ago, with native iPhone support and boy is it gorgeous…

The app puts beautiful snaps in your pocket using “a lush design and elegant, easy to navigate user interface”. iPhoneographers will love Flow, basically a photo stream displaying likes, favorites, comments and other actions of your contacts.

The team explains:

500px for iPhone puts stunning photography at your findertips. The outstanding, high-resolution photos take full advantage of iPhone’s Retina display as you scroll though your friends’ activity in Flow, discover the amazing photos in Popular, and browse inspiring photographers’ profiles.

The iPhone build is optimized for the iPhone 5 and iOS 6.

Strangely enough, the iPhone build won’t let you upload photos, but the team promised to bring that capability in a future update.

You can also browse popular categorites such as Editor’s Choice, Popular or Upcoming by tapping the buttons along the top that fade into the interface, check out a user’s full profile by tapping his or her avatar icon, search for photos using keywords and more.

Here is the 500px version 2.0 changelog:

• an all-new, designed from the ground up, iPhone experience, including Flow
• an improved look and feel for the iPad
• avatar upload for profiles: customize your visual presence on 500px straight from your device
• iPhone 5 and iOS 6 compatibility

The new universal binary supporting both the iPad and iPhone is available free of charge from the App Store. By the way, the iPad build also saw a minor update today.

By last count, more than half of the 1.5 million registered users are enjoying 500px for the iPad, with 93 percent return users and session times at 40+ minutes.

The main appeal of 500px is high quality of the snaps, thanks to a system where the community reviews uploads, meaning only curated content would get highlighted on the home page. In addition to sharing, users can put their work for sale on the site, or buy snaps from other users via built-in marketplace.

The app and the web service derive their name from the original size limit of photo uploads of 500 pixels. Image size later grew to 900 pixels, but the name remained. The site now hosts over six million photos and Canon’s 5D Mark II is the most popular camera on the site.