As a serious photographer, I do as much as I can to make my daily shots excellent, using cameras with low-noise sensors and fast lenses — then trying to keep them as steady as possible in low light. But even the latest and best cameras can’t snap perfectly clean images in dark surroundings. Grainy noise is basically inevitable in darkness, and the more basic the camera you’re using, the more likely it is to appear in a wider variety of pictures. To reduce noise, you can either shell out thousands of dollars for new camera gear, or try to fix your noisy photos with software.

Having spent years trying to fix noisy photos with software, including the noise reduction filters included with fully-featured photo editing applications such as Adobe’s Photoshop, I can tell you that the results typically aren’t great. Unless you’re willing to invest in an expensive noise-reduction plug-in, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to clean your image up, and it probably won’t be beautiful when you’re done. So when I learned about MacPhun’s Noiseless ($18), an app designed to do only one thing — eliminate noise — I was simultaneously skeptical and intrigued. Given that standalone noise-reduction apps often sell for 4 to 8 times as much, could an affordable single-purpose app meaningfully improve some seriously messed-up photos? The answer is “yes,” and at a far lower price than buying a comparably noise-free camera…

expand full story