Noise, Blur, Underexposed or Out of Focus?
Q. you rather have a shot be:
4. Out of focus
What do you find is the lesser of the evils, when you're put in a situation where you need a little bit more light, but you don't want to open the aperture any wider, you don't want to bump up the iso, and you don't want to leave the shutter open any longer?
None! but given that, that is not possible, I go for noise. Blurry gives people a headache and unless you have a style like EVU and can pretend you meant to do it and even if you do pretend to do it many viewers will just see a blurry shot, and in there minds that just bad, if it makes the pages of vogue than many viewers will think it bad and the fashion elite will think it was on purpose and its cool and be so happy with themselves because they feel they just GET IT when others don't
Same goes for out of focus, who looks at a out of focus shot (and I don't mean a shot with selective focus even if that selective focus is on a foreground object with the main behind and out but the idea is expressed that the in focus object was the subject of attention even in face of what should have been obviously the focus) that's different that has purpose, but just out of focus all over looks bad and only those who know its suppose to be art are fooled into thinking that is so cool!
Underexposed, can be brightened and perhaps fixed so this is an option depending on how much it has to be, if it will be so bad that the whole image will lose all detail that cannot be regained and will overall suffer its just bad, I do underexpose sometimes when shooting for B&W to give it a bit more meat to the raw file.
Noise would be the way to go, people have long been accepting of grain and noise can be cleaned a lot and even more reduced in its off color apparentness to a monochromatic noise that is not that objectionable and most people even consumers tend to be forgiving of noise and dot grain and pattern noise as its become a very normal part of the process so this is in my opinion the least objectionable when there are no other options available.