ZnS0.05Se0.95 nanocrystalline films were deposited onto fused silica and GaAs (100) substrates by the magnetron sputtering technique. The electrical conductivities of the films deposited onto fused silica substrates were measured in the temperature range of 180–300 K. It was observed that the low temperature conductivity could be explained by hopping of the charge carriers in the Coulomb gap while at elevated temperature Mott hopping is the predominant mode of conduction in these films. A distinct cross over from Efros–Shklovoskii to Mott hopping is observed for all the films. Optical spectra were found to be dominated by the combined effects of optical losses due to absorption and scattering. The absorption spectra indicated a blueshift, the extent of which depended on the crystallite size. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.