Image recovery in diffuse optical tomography (DOT) of the human brain often relies on accurate models of light propagation within the head. In the absence of subject specific models for image reconstruction, the use of atlas based models are showing strong promise. Although there exists some understanding in the use of some limited rigid model registrations in DOT, there has been a lack of a detailed analysis between errors in geometrical accuracy, light propagation in tissue and subsequent errors in dynamic imaging of recovered focal activations in the brain. In this work 11 different rigid registration algorithms, across 24 simulated subjects, are evaluated for DOT studies in the visual cortex. Although there exists a strong correlation (R(2) = 0.97) between geometrical surface error and internal light propagation errors, the overall variation is minimal when analysing recovered focal activations in the visual cortex. While a subject specific mesh gives the best results with a 1.2 mm average location error, no single algorithm provides errors greater than 4.5 mm. This work demonstrates that the use of rigid algorithms for atlas based imaging is a promising route when subject specific models are not available.