In real applications, a pinhole camera capturing objects through a planar parallel transparent plate is frequently employed. Due to the refractive effects of the plate, such an imaging system does not comply with the conventional pinhole camera model. Although the system is ubiquitous, it has not been thoroughly studied. This paper aims at presenting a simple virtual camera model, called a plate refractive camera model, which has a form similar to a pinhole camera model and can efficiently model refractions through a plate. The key idea is to employ a pixel-wise viewpoint concept to encode the refraction effects into a pixel-wise pinhole camera model. The proposed camera model realizes an efficient forward projection computation method and has some advantages in applications. First, the model can help to compute the caustic surface to represent the changes of the camera viewpoints. Second, the model has strengths in analyzing and rectifying the image caustic distortion caused by the plate refraction effects. Third, the model can be used to calibrate the camera’s intrinsic parameters without removing the plate. Last but not least, the model contributes to putting forward the plate refractive triangulation methods in order to solve the plate refractive triangulation problem easily in multiviews. We verify our theory in both synthetic and real experiments.