Flame Wheel f450 for first build and as mapping drone?

I’m a geospatial professional (GIS instructor and digital cartographer) and I’m interested in UAV use as both a hobby and to some degree a little professional development. I want to learn the process involved in drone use for field mapping, ortho imagery, and DEM creation.

I’ve spent some time poking around and looking at various kits and builds as well as playing with some of the available drone mapping software. I’m looking more seriously now at actually building a simple drone to experiment with and I’m hoping to get a little first timer advice from the board here.

My goals for this drone are 1) have some fun (building and flying) 2) learn the process of auto piloting a drone to capture aerial imagery 3) learn the tools and processes for turning aerial imagery into map data.

I’ve identified the DJI Flame Wheel f450 as a likely platform. I was initially looking at the Pixhawk autopilot but may now go with an f450 kit that includes the Naza-M v2 setup. I like the ‘eco system’ DJI provides for their kits and it looks like a straightforward way to get started with minimal fussing with various products from different vendors.

My questions are:

1) is the f450 with Naza kit going to be a difficult platform to learn to fly on? I know I can grab a mini drone to start with but for a step up is this kit too big? Too complicated? I’m less concerned with putting it together than I am about learning how to use it.

2) I’ve read a lot about people using the Pixhawk to control their drones but not much about the Naza controllers. Why is that? What are the major differences between the two?

3) there is a ton of good info out there for building the f450 (or related f330), that great. The problem is there is a TON of good info out there for building the f450! Do you guys have any favorite resources or guides fro first time builders using the Flame Wheel?

Thanks all,

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Hmm. Maybe I need to repost this in another section. 

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