The metering is generally pretty good - certainly good enough to shoot Velvia 50 and 100 and get good results. You can compensate if you need to with the 2x switch, or you if you need to compensate more or "go the other way", adjust the ISO dial. You can get lens hoods if you look, but another way to get an impromptu lens hood is to shoot upside down (the camera, not you!), or with a vertical shot, make sure the lens door is towards the sun.
If the shots are soft on one side, I'd suggest there is a problem with the camera - the lens is very very good.
The shutter mechanisms on them are prone to getting dirty and sticking, which will lead to blank frames or erratic exposures. This can be fixed with a CLA.
For quite some time, the 35GT was the only camera I carried - I almost always left the SLR at home. It only got supplanted when I discovered MF folders.