Films of Ti oxide, Zr oxide, Ce oxide, Ti-Ce oxide, and Zr-Ce oxide were made by means of reactive dc magnetron sputtering in a multitarget arrangement. The films were characterized by x-ray diffraction and electrochemical measurements, both techniques being firmly connected to stoichiometric information. The optical constants n and k were evalued from spectrophotometry and from variable-angle spectroscopic ellipsometry. The two analyses gave consistent results. It was found that n for the mixed-oxide films varied smoothly between the values for the pure oxides, whereas k in the band-gap range showed characteristic differences between Ti-Ce oxide and Zr-Ce oxide. It is speculated that this difference is associated with structural effects.