We report an overview and a comparison of nondestructive optical techniques for determining alloy composition x in Cd1-xZnxTe substrates for HgCdTe epitaxy. The methods for single-point measurements include a new x-ray diffraction technique for precision lattice parameter measurements using a standard highresolution diffractometer, room-temperature photoreflectance, and low-temperature photoluminescence. We compare measurements on the same set of samples by all three techniques. Comparisons of precision and accuracy, with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of different techniques, are presented. In addition, a new photoluminescence excitation technique for full-wafer imaging of composition variations is described.