Digital photographers like to say that correcting shooting defects with software is bad practice, the equivalent of compensating for a flawed negative in the darkroom. These programs make us beg to differ.
Digital capture is no different from film in one respect: A higher ISO gives you a "grainier" picture. This noise-reduction program, available in both stand-alone and plug-in versions, lessens that grain and the color irregularities associated with it without sacrificing detail. In noisy pictures shot at ISO 3200 we were able to preserve detail and texture in hair and skin, and even freckles. The Noiseware interface is simple, letting you specify the degree of reduction you want in both luminance and color noise. You can also reduce noise by specific color or by shadow, highlight, or midtone values. If all that control is confusing, presets offer a good starting point. From $27 to $70, depending on version (at imagenomic.com).