When using a metered camera, I often have a guess to myself what the exposure is going to be before I actually look. Most of the time I am pretty close - within the exposure latitude of the film. Anyway, even using a meter requires thought. Snow. White building. etc. You still have to assess and open it up a stop or two. Here in the UK I tend to use sunny 11ish
A meter contributes useful information - as a suggestion.
I like to let my eyes/brain/experience use that information to determine the exposure.
That being said, my eyes/brain/experience frequently agree with the meter's suggestion.
There is really no such thing as exposure latitude, just a factor of how far thing can be off and still be
nominally usable at the expense of what the film was really engineered for in the ideal sense, which of
course is related to the amount of contrast in a scene. Amateur color neg films are marketed under the assumption that folks will be winging it with less than ideal training or equipment, and will want Aunt Maude's skintones still looking vaguely human even if everything else in the print looks like hell. I use a spotmeter for everything, though have worked sheerly from memory in a few instances even with trickier chrome films. But otherwise, it's about like asking a sniper to walk around with a blindfolded.
In the old days, they'd print a little tip sheet on the film box, which usually worked for garden-variety
applications. My mother tooks photogrphs her whole life using a little box Brownie with no meter -
and every single shot was horrible!
I have a prism meter in my Hasselblad, which I find useful when using colour, or doing critical macro work. However, when using the M2, with the same film and developer year on year, I can usually guess within ½ a stop.
I always use a meter as if it is easy to misuse a meter, it is much easier to get the eye fouled by light condition. It does not mean I meter before each shot but I do it at least once to get a correct basis for exposure. Of course, with sunny16, no need for a meter...
My line of thinking is to commit a couple common situations to memory (Sunny, overcast, dusk, bright indoor/streetlights, dim indoor) at one ISO (probably 400) and use my noggin to figure things out from there. There are only a few EV steps in between those situations, so it shouldn't be hard to judge one way or the other.
Did a little test a while back, shot Delta 400 from -1 to +2 stops, developed in DD-X and was able to print the exact same, really nice print across the whole range of negatives by changing nothing but enlarger exposure.
Took a vacation a while back, used a dozen disposable cameras and got a lot of great stuff across a wide range of situations. Do the same with my Holga regularly too.
The book "Theory of the Photographic Process, forth edition, T.H.James" page 506 in chapter 17 by J.H.Altman has a graph that show about a 3-stop range (1-log relative exposure) across which the panel of 200 observers judged as producing excellent prints. Same book chapter 19 by C.N.Nelson page 556 a graph comparing differences in print quality from short toe and long toe films on a studio portrait. The graph shows a range of 4-5 stops across which a negative can be shot which can produce excellent prints, 90th percentile quality or better. Short toe films approach the 100th percentile for a very short maybe one stop area, and maybe that's where you are trying to hang out which is great, but switch to long toe films in the same situation and they approach the 100th percentile over about a 3-stop range.
Exposure latitude exists.
I would no more go out with a camera and not bring a meter than I would make parts on a lathe without a micrometer.