I recently got a shot rejected for grain. It was accepted in the second attempt after I got more aggressive on it with Noise Ninja. Here's the shot in question (included this way here so that I'm not accused of plugging my own shots).
Maybe I'm weird, but I personally (strongly!) prefer the first version. Sure, it has a bit of grain. But it also has much more detail and texture on the buildings and on the ground (and note that, on low light / backlit shots like this, it's hard not to get noise in the shadows). On the second version the noise has been reduced but, along with it, a lot of detail has been nuked too. To my eye, the second one looks flatter and lifeless, as if everything has been wrapped up in plastic film.
So, what I'm wondering is: is a.net's obssession with no-grain shots really for the better? I would claim that, at least in this particular case, aggressive grain reduction can make a shot look worse, not better (this is my own personal opinion, of course).
So, what do you all think? Do you really prefer the "plastic" look?