check your units and photon radius!
that is the start and key with any Mray scene
forget about final gather for the start (turn off)
see if your units (system and scene units) are ‘real life’ size
so 1 cm = 1 unit and your chair is about 60-90 cm high or something like that
if this is not the case : you will never be able to get a good setup with photons…
if it is the case : then you can set the radius of your photons with control.
give them something like 50-70 cm and just use 5000-10000 to start
this way you can see if you have a good start
fine tune the brightness and try to avoid photons from flying into the sky (blok them with invisible meshes)
then increase the amount of photons to something like 50000-100000 (maximum)
and give a little FGather (100-500 maximum)
if this kind of setup does not give you a good and quick rendering result… start over
cause then something is wrong with it (impossible to say what exactly without trying the scene myself…)
this workflow if setup in a good way will give you a fast and good result, speed would be comparable to scanline speed (if you do not use stuff like field of depth and such.)
and once you get 1 scene setup ok, you will be able to use that setup for other scenes in no time…