As far as I recall the only times you get a truly unimpeded view of the landscape is when you trigger the cinematic sequences associated with activating a vista point (I have a lot of screenshots from those vistas).
After the patch is released zooming in fully while playing will switch the camera to first-person view. It’s not intended as a special option for a particular scenario, just an alternative view. This is pleasing news to me and will necessitate my return to Tyria for the equivalent of a tourist trip. I will take a sandwich and explore some areas and take all the screenshots.