Image registration is an essential step in many image processing applications that need visual information from multiple images for comparison, integration, or analysis. Recently, researchers have introduced image registration techniques using the log-polar transform (LPT) for its rotation and scale invariant properties. However, it suffers from nonuniform sampling which makes it not suitable for applications in which the registered images are altered or occluded. Inspired by LPT, this paper presents a new registration algorithm that addresses the problems of the conventional LPT while maintaining the robustness to scale and rotation. We introduce a novel adaptive polar transform (APT) technique that evenly and effectively samples the image in the Cartesian coordinates. Combining APT with an innovative projection transform along with a matching mechanism, the proposed method yields less computational load and more accurate registration than that of the conventional LPT. Translation between the registered images is recovered with the new search scheme using Gabor feature extraction to accelerate the localization procedure. Moreover an image comparison scheme is proposed for locating the area where the image pairs differ. Experiments on real images demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed approach for registering images that are subjected to occlusion and alteration in addition to scale, rotation, and translation.