Objectives: The objectives were to measure the impact of specific features of imaging devices on tasks relevant to minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and to investigate cognitive and perceptual factors in such tasks. Background: Although image-guided interventions used in MIS provide benefits for patients, they pose drawbacks for surgeons, including degraded depth perception and reduced field of view (FOV). It is important to identify design factors that affect performance. Method: In two navigation experiments, observers fed a borescope through an object until it reached a target. Task completion time and object shape judgments were measured. In a motion perception experiment, observers reported the direction of a line that moved behind an aperture. A motion illusion associated with reduced FOV was measured. Results: Navigation through an object was faster when a preview of the object's exterior was provided. Judgments about the object's shape were more accurate with a preview (compared with none) and with active viewing (compared with passive viewing). The motion illusion decreased with a rectangular or rotating octagonal viewing aperture (compared with circular). Conclusions: Navigation performance may be enhanced when surgeons develop a mental model of the surgical environment, when surgeons (rather than assistants) control the camera, and when the shape of the image is designed to reduce visual illusions. Application: Unintentional contact between surgical tools and healthy tissues may be reduced during MIS when (a) visual aids permit surgeons to maintain a mental model of the surgical environment, (b) images are bound by non-circular apertures, and (c) surgeons manually control the camera.