yes, this is exactly my fear: the complexity of a DSLR. after a quick google there seems to be a LOT of suggestions for mirrorless camera for amateurs like myself. i'm still investigating but the NEX from Sony looks like a winner in comparison. as tempting as the T4i is I don't want to spend money on something i'll hardly ever use because it's too bulky and too complicated.
can someone talk me out of the Sony NEX-5R?
The experience with lower end mirrorless is different. With a true DSLR, you are looking through the viewfinder which gives you the true image (reflected through a mirror in most cases). Using LiveView, looking at the back of a screen just doesn't give you the same experience.
Putting a T4i on Auto, makes it no more complex than using a point and shoot. You also have the ability to then go to varying levels of more and more difficult modes. It's not that all hard to learn, just a lot of terms at the beginning. Once you grasp the idea that exposure (how much light is applied to a particular image) is generally controlled through shutter speed (how long the shutter stays open), aperture (how wide the opening on the front of the lens becomes) and ISO (how sensitive the sensor is to light, lower sensitivities typically provide better image quality while higher ones have more grain), then it's pretty simple to start shooting in full manual.
It all seems very complicated at first, but as mentioned, start off in full blown Auto, work your way to "P" (pretty much still Auto, but you can modify several settings yourself) and then the Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority, and Manual modes, and you'll get the hang of it. Once you learn the general principles, it won't matter if you're shooting a Sony NEX, Sony Alpha, Nikon, Pentax etc. You can pretty much take any camera and start using it to its full capabilities.
I believe the T4i has some of the learning menus as well, but check the specs for sure. The NEX-5R while also excellent isn't that much smaller once you start attached lenses (you'll still need a back, and it's not going to fit in your pocket). Also the lineup of Canon's lenses is pretty much unmatched. You're already getting two decent starter lenses, add a 50mm f/1.8 for around $100 and you can get very creating, with pictures that give you lots of blur in the background that you typically see from SLR pics (you'll see the "blur" referred to as bokeh).
In any case, at this price, if you're on the fence, jump on the deal. Buy now, think later. If you don't use the 55-250mm you can likely get $150 on craigslist. That leaves you with a net of $550 for the T4i kit which is not bad at all. You could likely sell that as well without losing much even after using it a few times. So all-in-all, very little risk.
I have really been wanting a T4i to upgrade from my XSi.
However, I already have both lenses they are offering in the package from when I bought my XSi. I am assuming that buydig does not swap out items in the package deals.
Not sure if it would be that much of a deal if I had to sell two lenses on eBay.
Do you have the IS versions of both lenses? If so, just sell the new ones from this deal. $150 hopefully for the 55-250mm, $100 for the 18-55mm. $450 for the body, minus whatever you get for your XSi body. Basically you end up upgrading to a T4i for a few hundred not a bad deal if you ask me. You'll get the nicer 18mp sensor, the articulating screen, and much better autofocus.