A high throughput is often required in many machine vision systems, especially on the assembly line in the semiconductor industry. To develop a non-contact three-dimensional dense surface reconstruction system for real-time surface inspection and metrology applications, in this work, we project sinusoidal patterns onto the inspected objects and propose a high speed phase-shift algorithm. First, we use an illumination-reflectivity-focus (IRF) model to investigate the factors in image formation for phase-measuring profilometry. Second, by visualizing and analyzing the characteristic intensity locus projected onto the intensity space, we build a two-dimensional phase map to store the phase information for each point in the intensity space. Third, we develop an efficient elliptic phase-shift algorithm (E-PSA) for high speed surface profilometry. In this method, instead of calculating the time-consuming inverse trigonometric function, we only need to normalize the measured image intensities and then index the built two-dimensional phase map during real-time phase reconstruction. Finally, experimental results show that it is about two times faster than conventional phase-shift algorithm.