The scalable application of quantum information science will stand on reproducible and controllable high-coherence quantum bits (qubits). In this work, we revisit the design and fabrication of the superconducting flux qubit, achieving a planar device with broad frequency tunability, strong anharmonicity, high reproducibility, and relaxation times in excess of 40 us at its flux-insensitive point. Qubit relaxation times 1 T across 22 qubits of widely varying designs are consistently matched with a single model involving resonator loss, ohmic charge noise, and 1/f flux noise, a noise source previously considered primarily in the context of dephasing, with temporal variation in 1 T attributed to quasiparticles. We furthermore demonstrate that qubit dephasing at the flux-insensitive point is dominated by residual thermal photons in the readout resonator. The resulting photon shot noise is mitigated using a dynamical decoupling protocol, resulting in T2 ~ 85 us , approximately the 1 2T limit. In addition to realizing a dramatically improved flux qubit, our results uniquely identify photon shot noise as limiting 2 T in contemporary state-of-art qubits based on transverse qubit-resonator interaction.