The pencam was a handheld camera shaped like a pen (hence the name) which was used by the Countdown lexicographer to point out words of interest in the dictionary. The word would also be highlighted in post-production (the only real post-prod flourish in the otherwise practically as-live show, as the letters depicted at the bottom of the screen are actually displayed using a split-screen camera trick). Occasionally, the pencam would be used as a close-up camera if the the DC guest brought in something that they wanted to show to the world.
The pencam made its début in the premiere of Series 22, with the purpose of highlighting the absence of the word "pencam" itself from the dictionary. It was retired at the end of Series 70, when the paper dictionary was removed from the show. The last word to be looked up on this version was AXONEMES, in the last letters round of the grand final of this series.
After the transition to Oxford Dictionary Online, it has since been occasionally used by to show close up items during the Dictionary Corner guest anecdote. On 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, it made a return more than two years after its last appearance in end-October 2016, with it being featured another two more times, proving that it is indeed part of the set. The last word to be looked up on this version was HANEPOOT, in the second letters round of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Series 12, Episode 6.
However, with the current set making its debut in June 2017 on the latter version of the show and in July 2017 on the normal version of the show, the pencam has no longer made any appearances, a probable indication that it has been permanently discarded and discontinued.