
Actually that depends on your definition of better. Photon mapping is indeed better in terms that it is faster. However there are problems with photon mapping (most notably improper light bleeding through surfaces, joints and corners). These can be addressed with a little care, however for the ultimate in image fidelity a pure Monte Carlo approach is the way to go (but its awefully slow). Now traditional techniques with Monte Carlo, can be slow to generate images with low variance. However there are variance reduction reductions that are extremely effective like Metropolis Light Transport or importance based sampling. I must warn you though, MLT is very tough to understand, let alone implement. In fact I don't know of anyone who has been a able to implement all the mutation strategies in MLT and prove that their implementation is correct with the exception of Eric Veach of course.
Anyway good luck with your stuff, looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
