I find that if I am carefully slower with my mouse wheel, I can control the zoom faster.
Sort of like Google Maps ? Hopefully, Jay can create that feature.
If you go to the Leaderboard or Stars tab or Carriers tab or Ships tab, you can click on the icon eye-balls to view that empire, star, or carrier.
In 8 player games, on the empire screen, you can click on the alien headshot to zoom that empire.