My Canon 40D has an impressive 6.5 second frame rate. Fast enough for the occasional animation shoot. About a year ago, I got acquainted with Casios Exilim Pro EX-F1. It can do 60 FPS in full resolution, and up to 1200 FPS in a small format (336 x 96). Today, we use this camera for rocket engine tests.
Even this speed is effectively dwarfed though, by the Steam Camera. Capturing 6 million FPS(!) @ shutter speed of 440 trillionths of a second, and, for now, comprising of only a single ‘pixel’, this detector is potentially useful for analyzing flowing blood samples in the medical field.
A quick quote from the BBC article explains a bit of the underlying science:
It works by using a fast laser pulse dispersed in space and then stretched in time and detected electronically.
So thats clear, then.