Instagram, one of the most popular mobile photo-sharing apps, reportedly hit 1 million iPhone downloads earlier this month. The Pepsi to Instagram’s Coke, is Picplz. Both startups were funded by Andreessen-Horowitz. Picplz is currently not as popular with reports of reaching 200,000 downloads.

Here I’m going to discuss which of the two I’d recommend you use.

I have been using another photo sharing app called Treehouse to share my photos with a select group of friends and cross posting (the less embarrassing photos) to Facebook and Twitter. Treehouse is founded by Chrys Bader and Daniel Rhodes, previous founders of Vidly, and close friends. Treehouse focused more on keeping photos private, where as Instagram and Picplz focuses on making photos public. Removing my bias for Treehouse I will take a closer look at Picplz and Instagram.

photo 1 Instagram vs Picplz: Which app should you choose?

Instagram is easy to use. You can register or use Facebook connect to bypass the registration process. Once you link your Instagram profile with your Facebook and Twitter accounts it populates a feed and you can see photos that existing Instagram friends have posted. You can also add friends from your phone book or by searching for user names.

There is a separate news section which allows you to follow conversations that are happening around photos posted by friends – it notifies you when a friend has accepted a request or when someone wants to add you, a bit like the Facebook notification. The popular photos tab allows you to see photos that have had the most views from the Instagram community, something which has turned into a contest and is attributed as one of the main reasons to Instagrams Success.

When you are ready to take a photo point your camera, shoot and then select preview a filter, before applying. There are 11 filters to choose from. Once you have chosen a filter then your photo is ready. You can share the photo on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare.

Instagram is fast at processing the filters, I have tried Hipstomatic in the past and it put me off filters. The photo taken would be cropped randomly. Pretending my iPhone was an old school camera with Hipstomatic was fun at the start but soon became very tedious and annoying.

Taking a closer look at Picplz, it does all of the above in almost the same way with a few additions:

  • Picplz is also available on Android as well as the iPhone.
  • Every user gets a web profile unlike Instagram
  • You can share on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare like Histagram but also on  Posterous.
  • Picplz counts how many people have viewed each photo
  • It instantly backs up your original photo file and filtered photo file on Dropbox, unlike Instagram where you have to manually do it.

photo 2 Instagram vs Picplz: Which app should you choose?

Picplz is trying to break the Instagram strong hold with all these additional features. The ability to instantly backup images on dropbox was genius.  Additionally their plans of expansion on other mobile platforms will help Picplz to grow – finally something for the poor Blackberry users?
Instagram’s greatest strength is that its community has more users and are undoubtedly more committed. Looking at my Instagram feed I have double the number of friends using this app then Picplz. I also like the Polaroid style white borders that Instagram applies to filtered images. Overall Instagram is nicer to use but only just.

So which photo sharing mobile app would I use? Picplz had me at Posterous, Why? My blog is on Posterous. I would have to wait for Hipstomatic to integrate with Posterous or use Picplz. But the lure of having more friends on Instagram is strong. What would be uber-great is for a someone to launch a meta-mobile-photo-sharing app. Upload one photo and it hits all the photo-sharing-mobile-app feeds. That way all my friends can be on one place and I can post directly to Posterous.

If you’re looking to throw yourself out there, get on the Instagram bandwagon, the community will keep you entertained. But if you’re looking for fast innovation, integration with other services and enjoy supporting the underdog – Picplz is for you.

Update: The latest version of the Instagram app has the ability to share on Posterous.