The evolution of ultra-fast cinematography from fast classical cameras to picosecond electro-optic and electronic cameras reaching picosecond temporal resolution allows the metrology of the shortest luminous events observed in ballistics, detonics, laser and plasma physics. This paper recalls some of the important steps concerning the development of framing cameras and streak cameras as well, which now allow the analysis of picosecond phenomena in almost all the spectral range between infrared and X-rays. Chronometers as well as oscilloscopes have been widely used in physics experiments, but they have been progressively replaced by electro-optic and electronic cameras which have the great advantage to give pictorial images of the physical event being analysed. The main improvements of cameras concern the spectral extension of photocathodes, the image intensification, the development of new electron-optics, the electronic circuitry and the image read-out systems. Besides the extension of the spectral range in the infrared with S1 photocathodes and toward X-rays with gold or CsI, in a sealed or open tube structure, we recall the principles, advantages and inconvenients of both framing and streak cameras.