I've tried all the flavours, nerdtree, vim vinegar, file beagle, netrw, everything I could find, and I found them all dissapointing for different reasons. Vim vinegar in many ways was the best, conforming to the paradigm, but still basic file operations were clunky.
Dirvish allows more straightforward file manipulation using the
% to expand into the current directory, e.g.:
:! cp %/default.settings.php %/settings.php